Following a shooting that injured multiple people, Guests are questioning the safety of a major theme park.
Kennywood, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is known for its thrilling attractions and offerings that bring in Guests from all over the state and surrounding areas.
However, Kennywood Park has been headlining the news the last few days following an incredibly unfortunate incident that took place inside the Park.
At least three people were confirmed to be injured by gunshot wounds, with others injured as well. Kennywood Park was hosting its Phantom Fall Fest at the time of the shooting. The Park confirmed all Guests eventually exited the park. Kennywood Park stated the following shortly after the incident was reported:
The park is closed for the night and all guests have exited. We are aware of a situation that occurred this evening and are working with local law enforcement. The safety of our guests and Team Members are our top priority. Members of the park’s security, Allegheny County, and West Mifflin police departments were already on site and immediately responded.
Gunshots were confirmed despite Kennywood’s website stating that all guests, team members, and management “must pass through metal detectors at the entrance gate, and all bags, purses, and coolers are subject to search.” This brings up the actual integrity of Kennywood’s security and safety protocols.
Guests who frequent the Pennsylvania amusement park recently voiced concerns over security features. As reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Guests were allegedly ushered past the park’s metal detectors while entering the park in the afternoon.
Guests alleged that bag checks were not thorough enough or not even done at all.
“We didn’t even go through the metal detector,” said Geoffrey Childs, who was visiting the park with his 5-year-old daughter and wife’s teenage niece. “There were a lot of people just passing through and kind of being waved around it.”
Mr. Childs confirmed that he didn’t see staff checking bags as Guests entered the park. “Normally, there’s a guard there at the end [of the entrance line], and if you have a belt buckle that sets it off, well, he’s gonna wand you and or pat you down, one of the two,” Mr. Childs said. “I’ve always gotten wanded, and none of that happened.”
Kennywood General Manager Mark Pauls issued a statement that goes against these claims of a lack of security, mentioning that the park did, in fact, conduct bag checks.
“A new state-of-the-art weapons detection system was installed at the start of this season and was operating Saturday,” Kennywood spokesman Nick Paradise said Monday. “The old system remains in place as a backup. It not being in use has led to false assumptions about security at the entrance.”
Kelli Sereday, a mom visiting with her family, called it “strange” when her party were not guided through metal detectors while entering the park.
Another Guest noted that Kennywood has a strict policy on unaccompanied minors visiting, but eyewitness accounts reported that teenagers were running through the park in large groups. According to the official park policy, guests under age 17 are required to have an adult over 21 present with them if entering the park after 4 p.m., similar to the chaperone policy at Knott’s Berry Farms as well as how Universal Studios Orlando operates its CityWalk area.
Have you ever visited Kennywood?