A fight broke out in the parking garage at Universal Studios on Saturday night, and the Orlando police evacuated the parking garage “out of an abundance of caution” due to “a fight between several juveniles.”
We all know that the police don’t evacuate major tourist attractions because of simple fist fights, and we also know that “juveniles” is a code word used by the local press for black teenage gang members. To understand what a HUGE thing this is, you have to understand how Universal Studios is set up:
You can see the two parking garages. There are elevated walkways that run from the garages to a rotunda, also elevated. (I marked the rotunda with a 5 pointed star). In the rotunda, there is a security station where they inspect bags and run everyone through a magnetometer.
That parking garage is the ONLY parking garage for the three main USO attractions: Universal Studios Orlando, Islands of Adventure, and Orlando City Walk. So the police evacuating the parking area means closing all three. Since it happened at midnight, the only thing open would have been City Walk, which is a Universal owned attraction of restaurants, bars, stores, mini golf, and other associated businesses.
So theoretically, no one is armed past that security station and the magnetometers that are located in that rotunda. I say theoretically, because that security station has been in place for nearly a decade, but I have made a hobby out of smuggling firearms past it. While I will admit that Universal has better security than Disney, it isn’t foolproof. They have even tried to claim that they are a school.
The area where Universal is located is a bad neighborhood to start with. Once when I was leaving the park, I missed a robbery of a nearby store by seconds.
The police claim that there were no weapons found or shots fired.
So with all of that being said, I can’t see the OPD evacuating a major tourist attraction to the point where people fled and left personal belongings behind, to include vehicles.
The news is calling it a “shooting scare” and blaming guns, even though there is no evidence that any guns were involved. Note that the parking garage was evacuated, which means that the “fight” occurred in the area outside of the security inspection station.
Me? I don’t see there being an evacuation of a major theme park unless someone in the OPD overreacted, or unless there really WERE shots fired.
This is the weakness in having a gun free zone with security inspections: you have an area where victims are guaranteed to be disarmed, and are easy pickings.