Six Flags on Police Lockdown After Teen Shooting

in Six Flags, Theme Parks

Six Flags Georgia roller coaster filled with excited riders contrasts with the flashing lights of a police vehicle.

Credit: Inside the Magic

If you are planning to visit Six Flags Over Georgia in the next few days, be prepared for two things: an overwhelming police presence and hordes of youths taking over the theme park.

Entrance to Six Flags Over Georgia with a roller coaster in the background
Credit: Discover Dunwoody

Patrons of Six Flags Over Georgia and vendors alike are saying that the theme park is currently experiencing a massive surge in visitors despite a very recent shooting. As we reported last month, Cobb County Police responded to a call from Six Flags on March 2 after it was reported that hundreds of unruly guests were tearing through the property and brawling. Numerous guests managed to catch the incident on camera and later posted it to social media, showing the staggering number of people involved.

Related: Six Flags Adds Sweeping Phone Ban Protocol, Strict Consequences Enforced

Apparently, the opening day of Six Flags Over Georgia, which is located in Austell and covers over 250 acres of ground, triggered the brawl, although the actual reasons for it are still unknown (per WSB-TV). According to Cobb County police, a number of fights outside the entrance to the park escalated, and a number of individuals began firing at officers, who returned fire. The police shot a fifteen-year-old, who was left in anonymous condition and not identified to the press, likely due to their age.

Local resident Tiasione Justice described the group as “It was a real big group of kids. I[’ve] never seen a group of kids like that outside of high school, you know?” This is not an isolated incident of crime or violence at Six Flags, but it is a particularly disturbing one.

A police officer in reflective gear on duty near the road with a six flags over georgia sign in the background.
Credit: Inside the Magic

Six Flags released a press statement regarding the shooting incident and police response, saying:

“Our goal is to provide safe, fun entertainment. We employ state of the art security systems and metal detection, maintain a robust and vigilant Public Safety Department, and have strong support from Cobb County Police who are present both inside and outside the park. Every guest is expected to follow our strict code of conduct and anyone unwilling to follow that code of conduct is unwelcome.

It is incredibly disappointing that our community is disrupted at public events throughout the region by groups of underaged youth. Just like other venues in the area, we are committed to keeping this type of trouble outside our park and off our property. There was police activity involving gunshots; we want to confirm there was no shooting at our property or parking lot. This took place on South Service Road that is not owned or operated by Six Flags. However, we join our community and the Atlanta region in our commitment to safety and security. We won’t put up with that type of activity here.”

Unsurprisingly, Six Flags Over Georgia now appears to be extremely concerned with the security level of the park as Spring Break begins in the area; historically, this means tens of thousands of additional visitors and the opening hours of the park are extended to 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. It is also a highly promoted event for Six Flags, one that it can ill afford to have disrupted with more violence.

Six Flags Over Georgia Superman rollercoaster with a police bar
Credit: Inside the Magic

Fox News 5 Atlanta reports that Mableton Mayor Michael Owens, Cobb County Sheriff Craig D. Owens Sr., Cobb County Police Chief Stuart Vanhoozer, and Six Flags Over Georgia general manager David Zellner have had closed-door meetings to discuss the severe security issues at the park, which no doubt led to the increased police presence at the park at the moment. Sheriff Owens has stated, “The safety and security of our residents and visitors are paramount, and it is imperative that we collaborate closely with law enforcement agencies and Six Flags management to identify potential vulnerabilities and implement proactive measures to mitigate risks.”

It seems to have had an effect. Local residents have noticed the police lockdown on Six Flags, largely to positive effect. Shelby Crawford (per WSB-TV) told reporters, “We saw more police officers kind of walking around and talking. I was telling him, something happened, there had to be a fight, but we didn’t realize something happened until we walked out,” and Jaz Cowan agreed, saying, “They put more police and security outside, just to make sure everyone was safe. It did seem a little more empty than usual. But ultimately, I felt safe.”

batman the ride six flags over georgia
Credit: Six Flags Over Georgia

Roy McCoughtry, a vendor who operates an ice cream shop at Six Flags, noted the increased police presence, saying, “There’s like cops at every corner. They’re walking through the park, and everything is pretty safe…They’ve said you better be ready because they’re coming like crazy.”

Related: Six Flags to Be Absorbed as Nearly 70 Million Vote for Historic Theme Park Merger

Six Flags released a statement regarding the police presence post-shooting, saying:

“While the disruption that took place on a road near Six Flags Over Georgia earlier this month was an isolated incident for us, this is an opportunity to remind everyone that we have a strict code of conduct and will not tolerate inappropriate behavior on Six Flags property. On that weekend, in addition to our own robust Public Safety department, Six Flags paid law enforcement details from multiple agencies were on property. Guests can expect to see that throughout the season as we continually review and enhance our security protocols, making adjustments where indicated.”

Why do you think Six Flags Over Georgia requires such powerful security? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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