Actor/mixed martial arts fighter Jason David Frank is safe and sound after police arrested a deranged fan who had targeted the former “Power Rangers” star at a ComicCon event in Phoenix, Arizona, carrying a cache of weapons he planned to use to assassinate Frank, with the suspect apparently believing himself to be Marvel antihero the Punisher.
According to Uproxx, Mathew Sterling, 31, was heavily armed when he entered the convention, carrying “a small arsenal of fully-loaded weapons… including two 45-caliber handguns, a .454-caliber handgun, and a 12-gauge shotgun with shells draped across his chest, as well as a combat knife, pepper spray and throwing stars.”
Sterling reportedly posed for photos with some of his weapons, posting the pics on social media before being apprehended shortly after, thanks to a fast-thinking acquaintance who showed police a Facebook post containing the photos.
When captured by police, reports the Arizona Republic, Sterling’s smartphone contained a reminder set for that day, reading, “Kill JDF” (the actor’s initials). During his court appearance, Maricopa County Deputy Attorney Ed Leiter said the suspect indicated he was “going to have a showdown and kill God knows how many more cops.”
According to a police statement, Sterling is being charged with attempted murder, three counts of aggravated assault, wearing body armour during the commission of a felony, resisting arrest, and carrying a weapon in a prohibited place. Bail has been set at $1 million.
Following the incident, Frank appeared on Facebook Live to let everyone know he was unharmed, and thanked fans for their support.
“You will start hearing stuff on social media. I’m fine. I’m OK. Love y’all. Even though it looks like things don’t faze me, I refuse to have a situation tear me apart mentally. You gotta remember, things could always be worse. Things could’ve been worse. But it wasn’t. You know, everyone is safe, things are OK, and it’s a great thing,” said Frank, who played the Green Power Ranger (a.k.a. Tommy Oliver) on the original 1990s TV series.
“I’m very grateful to the Phoenix police department for their brave and outstanding efforts, which avoided a terrible tragedy, as recently seen at the concert in Manchester,” Frank said during a press conference, reported by Fox 10 Phoenix. Watch: