BALTIMORE, MD (CelebrityAccess) — A man shouting “Heil Hitler, Heil Trump” and raising a Nazi salute interrupted a performance of “Fiddler on the Roof,” at the Hippodrome Theater in Baltimore on Wednesday, setting off a brief panic among some members of the audience.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Anthony M. Derlunas was seated in the balcony at the theater and began shouting and gesticulating during an intermission.
“People started running,” Audience member Rich Scherr told the Sun. “I’ll be honest, I was waiting to hear a gunshot. I thought, ‘Here we go.’”
Derlunas subsequently told police that he had been “drinking heavily” and was motivated by a dislike for the President.
According to the Sun, a police report from the incident said that the final scene of the play before intermission reminded him of his hatred for the President and prompted him to shout. Derlunas said he was confused that people in the theater became frightened or angry.
Police told the Sun that they issued a stop ticket, which does not carry any fines or penalties, to Derlunas, but did not arrest him.
“As reprehensible as those words are, they are considered protected free speech because nobody was directly threatened,” police spokesman Matt Jablow told the newspaper.
In a statement posted to their social media, a rep for the Hippodrome said:
“Behavior like we saw during intermission at Wednesday evening’s performance will not be tolerated.
“The Hippodrome’s on-site security team, along with our usher staff were able to remedy the situation and remove the offending audience member quickly, coordinating efforts with local police, who removed the man out of the building. In response to last night’s events, we’ve increased security protocols for “Fiddler on the Roof” beginning with this evening’s performance in order to ensure safety and security for all patrons.
“Our venue has a proud tradition of providing shared experiences to people from all walks of life, right in the heart of this wonderfully diverse city, and we intend to continue that tradition in the spirit of bringing people together, not dividing them.”