UPDATE, 8/23: A statement release by the Grant County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday revealed that they no longer believe a suspect arrested at the Gorge last week intended to conduct a mass shooting at Bass Canyon. Although specific details were not provided, the conclusion that mass violence was not his intent was arrived at after authorities had interviewed him and served search warrants on two separate vehicles.
The suspect, 31-year-old Ephrata resident Jonathan Moody, was arraigned Monday in Grant County District Court on one count of possession of a dangerous weapon and another count for unlawful carrying or handling of a weapon. He entered a plea of not guilty and was released after posting $10,000 bail. He is next scheduled to appear in court on September 8.
The sheriff’s office went on to note that “concertgoers did the right thing by reporting suspicious activity.”
Original story, published 8/20:
Excision’s three-day bass festival at the Gorge, Bass Canyon, navigated a potential mass violence threat on Friday night.
Although the festival has never faced major violence in its three years of running, the Grant County Sheriff’s Department announced a startling detainment on Saturday.
The sheriff’s office initially announced that they believed a mass shooting was avoided at the Gorge Amphitheater on Friday, August 19th. In a statement released on the department’s Facebook page, it was revealed that both security and citizens notified deputies of a man in the Gorge parking lot who was loading two 9mm pistols. They reported that the man concealed one pistol in the back of his waistband and the other in a holster in an outside-the-waistband hostler.
Suspicions were reportedly raised when they saw the man “inhale an unknown substance from a balloon” and load the weapons after. The statement went on to claim the suspect approached festival attendees to ask what time the concert ended and where people would exit the venue.
The official Bass Canyon page released a statement below, in which they commend the citizens and security for handling the situation.
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See something, say something: none harmed thanks to watchful attendees and security
Thanks to the diligence of attendees and witnesses, the man was reported to the police and detained outside of the venue gates. After the police investigated, the deputies arrested the man on suspicion of one count of possession of a dangerous weapon and one count of unlawful carrying or handling of a weapon. He was then booked in the Grant County Jail, and there have been no further updates.
It’s critical to note that no attendees were harmed in the incident, and he was prevented entry to the venue. The suspect also did not make any statements to deputies.
This came on the first official night of Bass Canyon, discounting the pre-party on the night before the festival officially embarked. There are upwards of 25,000 attendees at the Gorge this weekend.
This incident staunchly marks an important reminder: if you see something, say something. Especially in this era of mass gun violence, paying attention to your surroundings is key. Although we can’t say for certain what the suspect’s intentions were, it’s commendable that attendees were alert and able to report what they witnessed.
You can read the full statement below on Facebook.
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