The Newnan Times-Herald

Local

​ ‘Walkers’ clash with local man in downtown Senoia


  • By Sarah Fay Campbell
  • |
  • Jun. 13, 2018 - 7:25 AM

Editor's note: This story has been updated as of Tuesday afternoon. 

A verbal conflict between tourists dressed as “walkers” and a downtown Senoia restaurant patron Saturday escalated to the point that a police report was filed, and resulted in a flurry of social media activity.

Several members of a Walking Dead tour group, including several dressed in full zombie makeup and attire, were walking through downtown Senoia Saturday when they passed in front of Katie Lou’s Café.

Police said the group was passing on the sidewalk in front of Katie Lou’s when a man in a purple shirt, later identified as Tom Malone, confronted the group.

According to the police report, one witness said Malone blocked the group from passing through and became verbally abusive.

Terrie Hamrick with the tour group told Officer Samuel Holder of the Senoia Police Department that Malone told them to “get the f*** off his sidewalk” and to “walk the f*** on.”

As the group walked away, one tour participant dressed as a zombie, identified as Fredrick Northrop, walked back and confronted Malone about cursing in front of children.

Northrop told police that he saw a woman confront Malone about his language in front of the children in the group, and Northrop then went back to confront Malone, as well. “Mr. Northrop stated that when he got into Mr. Malone’s face, the subject pushed him backwards,” according to information in the report from Holder. Northrop said another man then grabbed him by the arm.

Holder informed Northrop that coming back to confront Malone and getting into his personal space was a provoking act and that Malone had the right to defend himself.

Malone and two others told police there was no physical contact, according to the report.

In the report, police identified Malone as an employee of the restaurant, but that was incorrect, according to Claudia Wood, one of the owners of the restaurant.

“Tom is a good friend of ours. He is not and has never been an employee of Katie Lou’s,” Wood said Tuesday. “The incident report was incorrect in that and I am trying to get it corrected."

Malone is known to be at the restaurant frequently,  according to Senoia Police Chief Jason Edens.

According to the report, Malone said he didn’t like the people dressed up as zombies walking in front of the business because it scared customers.

When the group passed, he reportedly stopped them, stating the portion of the sidewalk closest to the restaurant is private property and demanded they walk on the portion of the sidewalk closer to the street.

A portion of the sidewalk in front of Katie Lou’s is private property and isn’t part of the public sidewalk, according to Edens.

“Everything under the awning belongs to Katie Lou’s,” he said.

Jamie Thompson, owner of Walkin’ Dead Haralson Tours, said this was not the first time this has been a problem. There was an issue last fall in the same area when people were told they could not be on the sidewalk.

“Our people walk on the other side of the planters. That is where they have been told to stay,” said Thompson.

Thompson said tour participants in full “walker” makeup are told they cannot approach people in any way. If people want to come up to them, they can interact.

She said there were a 10-year-old and 14-year-old dressed up as members of the group on Saturday.

Thompson said she feels the police report is incomplete. The police department received an additional witness statement on Tuesday, Chief Edens said, that was similar to the other witness statements.

Edens said that some people in Senoia don’t care for the people in zombie makeup. The makeup and costumes are often quite detailed.

“They look like they could be part of the cast of the show,” Edens said.

“The Walking Dead” is based at AMC Studios just outside Senoia and has filmed extensively in the area.

“I’ve spoken to some citizens downtown. It scares their small children and things like that,” Edens said. “On the other hand, there are people who love it.”

Tour group participants come from all over the United States, and there were groups from Tennessee and Indiana on Saturday, Thompson said.

“We just want a positive thing for everybody,” Thompson said. “We don’t expect anything out of it except an apology. We don’t want it to happen again."

* * * 

The original story is below

A verbal conflict between tourists dressed as “walkers” and a downtown Senoia restaurant patron Saturday escalated to the point that a police report was filed, and resulted in a flurry of social media activity. 

Several members of a Walking Dead tour group, dressed in full zombie makeup and attire, were walking through downtown Senoia Saturday when they passed in front of Katie Lou’s Café. 

Police said the group was passing on the sidewalk in front of Katie Lou’s when a man in a purple shirt, later identified as Tom Malone, confronted the group. 

According to the police report, one witness said Malone blocked the group from passing through and became verbally abusive.

Malone told them they couldn’t walk on his sidewalk, and as the group walked away, one man returned and confronted Malone about cursing in front of children. 

Malone reportedly pushed the man who confronted him, although he and two others later told police there was no physical contact, according to the report. 

According to the report, Malone said he didn’t like the people dressed up as zombies walking in front of the business because it scared customers. 

Police identified Malone as an employee of the restaurant, but when reached by the NTH, the owners declined to comment. However, on social media, one of the restaurant owners reportedly identified him as regular customer and friend - not an employee.

When the group passed, he reportedly stopped them, stating the portion of the sidewalk closest to the restaurant is private property and demanded they walk on the portion of the sidewalk closer to the street. 

A portion of the sidewalk in front of Katie Lou’s is private property and isn’t part of the public sidewalk, according to Chief Jason Edens with the Senoia Police Department. 

Officers have explained to the tour groups that they need to walk outside of that area. 

“Everything under the awning belongs to Katie Lou’s,” he said. 

Jamie Thompson, owner of Walkin’ Dead Haralson Tours, said this was not the first time this has been a problem. There was an issue last fall in the same area when people were told they could not be on the sidewalk. 

“Our people walk on the other side of the planters. That is where they have been told to stay,” said Thompson.

Thompson said tour participants in full “walker” makeup are told they cannot approach people in any way. If people want to come up to them, they can interact. 

She said there was a 10-year-old and 14-year-old dressed up on Saturday. 

Thompson told the NTH she feels the police report is incomplete, and said several people who were in the tour group gave statements to the police on Monday. 

Edens said that some people in Senoia don’t care for the people in zombie makeup. The makeup and costumes are often quite detailed. 

“They look like they could be part of the cast of the show,” Edens said. “The Walking Dead” is based at AMC Studios just outside Senoia and has filmed extensively in the area. 

“I’ve spoken to some citizens downtown, it scares their small children and things like that,” Edens said. “On the other hand, there are people who love it.” 

Tour group participants come from all over the U.S., and there were groups from Tennessee and Indiana on Saturday, Thompson said. 

“We just want a positive thing for everybody,” Thompson said. “We don’t expect anything out of it except an apology. We don’t want it to happen again."