New York – Late Tuesday night, a motorcycle backfired on Times Square and instantly started widespread panic because the crowd mistook the sound for gunfire.
Recent mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso have spread anxiety among Americans and in the wake of these tragic events, people easily lose their cool.
The situation quickly became chaotic as people raced to escape what they thought was another mass shooting. There are claims that some people even screamed, “He’s got a gun!” and “Shooter!” as they ran away, which caused even more people stampeding in panicking fear.
Many people said they’ve heard the noise, but didn’t react to it until they saw the crown running and screaming, so they started doing the same.
A witness called the situation a stampede as people massively ran away down nearby streets, restaurants, theaters, and stores. Some plays have been delayed due to the panicking rush of the crowd.
Police say 22 people were hurt and 4 of them had to be taken to a hospital.
Check out this video report from CBS!
Famous Broadway actor Gideon Glick tweeted about some of the screaming people entering the theater, scaring the audience and making the cast fled the stage in fear and confusion.
CBS New York reports that people were, “literally running out of their shoes,” in nearby restaurants, jumping over counters, dropping their bags and anything they were carrying, trampling those who couldn’t keep up with the crowd. Many abandoned shoes and purses could be seen all over restaurant floors afterward.
“They jumped out of shoes,” a Times Square employee said for CBS. “There were shoes everywhere.”
A Twitter user was quick enough to catch the backfire sounds on camera and claims it didn’t sound like a motorcycle backfire at all. According to her, it sounded exactly like gunshots.
The flood of 911 calls caused additional NYPD units to arrive in Times Square, and the NYPD quickly pointed out on Twitter that the situation was safe.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio told New Yorkers that the scene is safe, but he also took the chance to condemn the growing culture of fear in our country.
This is what he wrote on his Twitter account:
The effects of mass shootings are very obvious, and as Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chair of psychiatry at Columbia University says for CBS, it has produced mass anxiety among people.