A Maine man who was stopped on the highway for speeding over the weekend had a number of guns in his car, including an AK-47 assault rifle, and told State Police that he had taken a loaded gun in his backpack into a recent showing of the latest Batman movie, authorities said.
Timothy Courtois, 49, of Biddeford, who was stopped Sunday morning after being clocked at 112 miles per hour on the Maine Turnpike, also had clippings of the recent Aurora, Colo., movie slayings in his car, according to State Police.
Courtois told troopers he was on his way to Derry, N.H., to shoot a former employer, the Maine Department of Public Safety said in a statement Monday. Authorities did not identify the employer.
Trooper Phillip Alexander stopped Courtois at 10 a.m. on Sunday as he was driving down Interstate 95 near the Kittery line after receiving reports from motorists of a Mustang speeding with its hazard lights on, the statement said.
When he was pulled over, Courtois admitted to having a number of weapons in the car, according to authorities. Troopers found an AK-47, four handguns, and several boxes of ammunition, according to Public Safety. In a search of Courtois’ apartment later, troopers found several more guns, including a banned fully automatic Russian assault rifle, and 8,000 to 10,000 rounds of ammunition, Maine State Police Sergeant James Urquhart said.
Courtois told State Police he had attended a showing of the latest Batman movie at a Cinemagic theater location in Saco, Maine, on Saturday night with a concealed gun, Public Safety said in its statement.
The theater referred questions to its New Hampshire-based operating company, Zyacorp. Bob Collins, a company spokesman, could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday night.
He told the Bangor Daily News that patrons are not permitted to bring backpacks or large bags into the theater, and the company had not determined whether Courtois attended a Batman screening on Saturday or brought a bag inside as he claimed.
Courtois was arrested on charges of carrying a concealed weapon and criminal speed and taken to the York County Jail in Alfred, Maine, said Urquhart.
“State and federal authorities are now trying to determine what … Courtois was intending to do with the arsenal,’’ according to the statement.
Steve McCausland, a spokesman for Public Safety, said Courtois gave no indication to authorities of a plan to use the weapon inside the theater. “He just mentioned [the weapon] and obviously we took note of it,’’ McCausland said.
Courtois was arraigned in Springvale District Court Monday afternoon. He appeared through a video feed from jail and pleaded not guilty, the Portland Press Herald reported. He was ordered held on $50,000 cash bail.
Both state and federal authorities are investigating to see whether additional charges will be brought, Public Safety said.
The Maine arrest took on particularly ominous overtones because of last week’s incident in Aurora, in which James Holmes, 24, allegedly opened fire at a midnight showing of the newest Batman movie, killing 12 people and wounding 58. He was reportedly carrying three weapons, including an assault rifle, and was dressed in body armor.
Shortly after the Colorado shootings, Cinemagic released a statement expressing sympathy for the victims.
“The safety of our patrons is, and has always been of paramount importance to Cinemagic,’’ the statement said. “As it has in the past, Cinemagic will continue to take all reasonable steps to provide a safe and wholesome environment for our valued moviegoers.’’