MANCHESTER, New Hampshire –
A haunted house employee at a venue in New Hampshire was arrested after police say the man “snapped,” and murdered 19 people with a machete while they were inside the haunt.
Thomas Richards, 37, was taken into police custody after a haunted house volunteer called 911. They claimed that one of other costumed characters working the event, who was dressed as horror movie character Jason Voorhees, was attacking people with what was supposed to be a fake machete.
“Mr. Richards had apparently swapped out his foam, haunt-provided machete for a real one, and attacked guests as they made their way through the haunted house,” said police chief Mario Colone. “He was able to attack over 30 people, with 19 of them dying from injuries sustained by the machete blows. These attacks took place over a period of 45 minutes, as no one knew the screams inside were real.”
Richards was well liked by his fellow haunt employees, and haunt organizers say that Richards had come back multiple years, with 2015 being his 9th year playing Jason in the haunted house.
“It’s mind-boggling that Thomas would just snap and kill all those people,” said haunted house organizer Christopher Creed. “I don’t know what would make him do it, but it is insane. The scene was bloody and violent. It was so disturbing I cringed. In fact, it was so disturbing, we decided to leave the crime scene the way it is for next year’s haunted house. People will be scared to death!”
Richards is scheduled for arraignment on Thursday. He will be charged with 19 counts of first-degree murder, as well as an additional 15 counts of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Police say that he faces the death penalty.