SBD/March 21, 2011/Facilities

Staples Center Increases Security After Standoff With Knife-Wielding Man

Slight modifications to Staples Center security measures “were evident at the Clippers-Suns game Sunday, the day after a man wielding a knife reached the court before the Clippers played the Cavaliers,” according to J.A. Adande of ESPN.com. A man on Saturday “pulled a knife on security guards at the employee entrance, then made it to the court, where he was surrounded by Staples Center security and off-duty police officers in the building while waiting” for LAPD officers to arrive. Staples Center Senior VP & GM Lee Zeidman said that the “proper procedures were followed and that he does not anticipate major policy changes, although there will be a review.” The employee and media entrance that normally “has two security guards standing inside behind a metal detector,” had “a third security guard” stationed outside the door yesterday. The players “noticed an increased security presence,” as an “additional member of the Clippers' security staff was seated by the bench during the game” (ESPN.com, 3/20).

SCARY SITUATION: In L.A., Lisa Dillman reported “panic spread at Staples Center less than two hours before” the Cavaliers-Clippers game Saturday when the knife-wielding man and police engaged “in a standoff lasting nearly half an hour.” Zeidman said that a security officer “noticed an individual walking around the employee entrance about 10:45 a.m.” Zeidman: "He tried to enter the doors and we tried to secure him and stop him. … He pulled out a knife at that point and told our officers in no uncertain terms to get away from him." LAPD officers “ultimately tackled the man near the Cavaliers' bench and took him into custody without anyone getting hurt.” The three Clippers “closest to the man -- Eric Bledsoe, Randy Foye and Al-Farouq Aminu -- were able to run off the court, as was Christian Eyenga of the Cavaliers.” Clippers assistant coach Howard Eisley “jumped over the scorer's table to get away.” There were “plenty of children around the court, but not many spectators in the building at the time.” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro and Cavaliers coach Byron Scott “both wanted to delay the game's start by 15 minutes.” Scott: “The league said five (minutes), which I don't understand. Either give us 15 or don't give us any" (L.A. TIMES, 3/20). Police apprehended the man by “firing guns containing bean bags to finally subdue him.” Staples Center “was locked down and players were confined to their locker rooms” during the standoff (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 3/20). Clippers G Randy Foye, who was sitting courtside when the man reached the court, said, “I looked up and there was somebody standing like 15 feet from me with a long, shiny knife. I was looking like, ‘Is this real?’ I was in shock” (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/20).
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