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Mass panic in Times Square after motorcycles backfire - Metro US

Mass panic in Times Square after motorcycles backfire

Panic ensued Tuesday night in Time Square as the sound of backfiring motorcycles was mistaken for the sounds of gunfire. 

Video footage from social media shared frightened tourists and New Yorkers alike running for safety after the loud booms rang out around 10 p.m.

Pedestrians dropped everything and ran to seek safety wherever they could, even running into stores to protect themselves. 

“Ran into @Forever21 in #timessquare to take cover of what we thought was an active shooter! Almost got trampled trying to get into the doors but that staff was great and locked us inside an made everyone go the bottom floor! Glad it wasn’t a real active shooter! #timesquare” tweeted @Iamlinseyb.

On Wednesday morning, another Twitter user was trying to locate a woman who had apparently dropped their purse in the chaos. 

Panicked bystanders also went so far as to storm into a Broadway theater in an attempt to find safety. Gideon Glick, an actor in To Kill a Mockingbird at Shubert Theatre, shared on his Twitter, “Stopped our show tonight due to a motorcycle backfire that was mistaken for a bomb or a shooting. Screaming civilians tried to storm our theater for safety. The audience started screaming and the cast fled the stage. This is the world we live in. This cannot be our world.” Actress Merle Dandridge was in attendance, and also feared for her life.

“Crouched on the floor of the Shubert Theatre during an astounding performance of Mockingbird fearing for my life. This is our world now. Open panic and ready for life shots. I’m still shaking and scared for our country.”

Another witness described the mayhem in Times Square, saying it was the first time she had witnessed a stampede.”First there was pushing, then screams, and frantic running. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed that much fear before,” said Ashley Grace Velazquez on Twitter.

Additionally, she thanked someone at The Lion King for allowing them to enter the stage door for safety.

Although NYPD confirmed that there was no shooting and that it was just some motorcycles going through the area, people were terrified. NYPD tweeted that “There is no #ActiveShooter in #TimesSquare. Motorcycles backfiring while passing through sounded like gun shots. We are recieving multiple 911 calls. Please don’t panic. The Times Square area is very safe! @NYPDnews @NYPDTimesSquare”

The false alarm came days after two mass shootings took the lives of 31 people over the weekend, first in El Paso then hours later, in Dayton, Ohio. The weekend prior 11 people were shot at a Brooklyn block party. Since the recent mass shootings, NYPD has increased patrols throughout the city.

Despite the public unease, NYPD said Tuesday that crime was down. New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said,“New York City is the safest big city in America, and it’s as safe as it’s ever been in modern times.”

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