Officials with Six Flags America have increased security and moved the location of visitor pick-up and drop-off points at the amusement park in the wake of brawls that erupted during Fright Fest last Saturday.
The detailed security plan comes as the second weekend of the Halloween-themed event at the Prince George’s County park approaches.
“The safety and security of our guests is our highest priority and we have significantly enhanced security at the park,” Havilah R. Ross, a spokeswoman for the park, said in a statement.
The park has been working with local police to increase security after fights broke out during the opening night of Fright Fest last weekend. At least three teens were injured, and parents were frantic as they tried to pick up their children among what witnesses have described as “chaos” and “mayhem.”
Ross said the park has increased visible and non-visible security units and surveillance in the parking lots and throughout the park. Six Flags has also relocated visitor pick-up and drop-off to an auxiliary parking lot on the west side of the property to reduce the hassle of driving through the park for such purposes.
The teen who suffered the most serious injuries in the incident, a 15-year-old DuVal High School freshman, was placed in a medically induced coma shortly after getting punched outside of the park, according to police and family. The teen is no longer in a coma but remains unconscious as he recovers from surgery that removed a portion of his skull to reduce swelling on his brain, said Zina Pierre, a spokeswoman for the boy’s family.
“He’s doing extremely well,” Pierre said Friday. “This morning his mother called his name and he opened his eyes.”
Authorities are investigating whether the 15-year-old may have known about planned fights. Two people with knowledge of the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the inquiry is pending said the teen’s Twitter account includes tweets about attending “Fight Fest.”
Pierre said the teen’s mother reviewed his Twitter account and did not see conversations about the planned fights. “There was plans to hang out with friends, they talked about their girlfriends, but in terms of plans to go or launch a fight, I don’t know how factual that is,” Pierre said.
Pierre warned that because there have been varying witness accounts of the incident, it will take time to “iron out what is factual.” Pierre said she knows only what the teen’s friends have told the family about what happened. There may be added confusion, Pierre said, as another boy was knocked out that night as well.
“As days go by, we’re getting different accounts of what took place,” said Pierre, a family friend and pastor at the church the boy’s mother attends. “We’re really trying to figure out and balance out all the accounts.”
The case is still an “ongoing and active investigation” and police have not made any arrests, Prince George’s County Police Department spokeswoman Julie Parker said, but authorities are prepared for this weekend’s Fright Fest.
“We will be closely monitoring the situation,” Parker said.
Family and friends of the teen had scheduled a prayer vigil for the boy outside Six Flags on Friday evening.
“I pray for the day that [he] can talk to his mother and talk about what is factual and what is truth,” Pierre said.