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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Patti LaBelle rushed offstage, audience evacuated after bomb threat in Milwaukee

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Security guards escorted Patti LaBelle offstage and authorities evacuated Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater on Saturday after a bomb threat was reported at the musician’s Christmas concert in Wisconsin.

All attendees were “safely evacuated” from the venue, Milwaukee Police Capt. Warren E. Allen Jr. said in a statement to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Allen later told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that “no explosive devices were discovered” at the scene, and “there is no threat to the public at this time.”

In footage from the concert tweeted by @sunny_seokkie, LaBelle is abruptly rushed offstage while interacting with an audience member celebrating her 70th birthday. “Wait!” the singer exclaims as a team of security personnel ushers her to the wings.

Another video posted on Facebook by concertgoer Catherine Brunson shows attendees filing out of the theater and onto the street, which is surrounded and blocked off by police.

“We was in there chilling, listening to Patti. She sung her first song, then they came in and swarmed in and took her off the stage, and we thinking it’s a part of the act,” Brunson says in the video.

According to Brunson, the audience was then instructed to evacuate the building because of a bomb threat.

“Somebody get on the mic like … ‘Police got to come in and check the building,’” Brunson says in the clip. “‘Then when it’s clear we can … go back in.’ Who the hell’s gonna go back in there?”

Pabst Theater Group, which operates the Riverside Theater, announced via Twitter that the concert had been postponed.

“We are thankful for the efforts of the Milwaukee Police Department and our customers and staff for their safe and orderly exit,” the company said in a statement. “We are working with the artist to reschedule the show.”

A representative for LaBelle did not immediately respond Sunday to The Times’ request for comment.

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