Man struck, killed outside theater after '300: Rise of an Empire' dispute

Police in Texas are searching for two suspects in a pickup truck that struck and killed a 23-year-old man outside a Houston-area movie theater following an argument about 300: Rise of an Empire.

According to KHOU 11 News, the dispute began shortly after midnight Monday in the restroom of the Silverado Movie Theater near Tomball, when two men allegedly injected themselves into a conversation between Michael Emerson and his two friends about whether the film might spawn a sequel (it's a follow-up to 300, an adaptation of the 1998 Dark Horse limited series by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley).

According to Emerson's friend Ryan Hacker, the argument escalated when one of the men made a disparaging comment about Emerson's disfigured arm. When both parties left the theater for the parking lot, sheriff's deputies say the two men got into their Ford F150 Crew Cab truck. When Emerson confronted them outside the passenger door, the driver allegedly put the vehicle into reverse and struck him, knocking him to the ground. The truck then fled the scene.

“They hit him going fast. It wasn’t like a nudge, get out of the way. It was fast. It happened in a split second,” Hacker told the TV station. “I think the emotions and adrenaline were pumping, and they didn’t have control of what was going on.”

Emerson was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Deputies have released surveillance photos in hopes of identifying the truck's driver and passenger.

“Help us find out who did this to Michael so we can get justice for him and our family,” said Emerson's mother Stevie Garner. “It feels like a dream, it doesn’t feel real to me right now. I’m good for five minutes and I cry for hours. I want to hold my child. I want him to say, ‘I love you mama,' I want to see his big blue eyes and that beautiful smile.”

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