With three mass shootings in less than a week on everyone’s mind, all it took was a motorcycle backfire to start a stampede.
On Tuesday evening, police started taking one emergency call after another, all from inside New York City’s iconic Times Square.
They instantly started telling everyone not to panic. Officials quickly took to the airwaves and social media to let everyone know the “Times Square area is very safe.”
The reassurance came too late for 9 people hurt in the chaos and confusion. Six required treatment at a nearby hospital. Injuries were described as minor.
“Having a mob of people yelling and running at you in/near Times Square is probably the scariest thing I have ever been in,” one witness posted.
NYPD Midtown North tweeted at around 7:09 p.m. “There is no #ActiveShooter in #TimesSquare. Motorcycles backfiring while passing through sounded like gun shots. We are receiving multiple 911 calls. Please don’t panic. The Times Square area is very safe!”
Mayor Bill De Blasio noted that “what people felt was all too real.” Surveillance video shows the panic stricken crowd scurrying through the street. Some thought there had been an explosion. No matter what the cause, “everyone panicked.” A witness described everyone “running en masse, men yelling ‘get down!'” She was separated from her brother but came out just fine. still, it was a “freaky experience” reports Sometimes Softly.
— NYPD Midtown North (@NYPDMTN) August 7, 2019
Another New Yorker mentions “got caught up in a stampede of people who were running from something. We ended up going into the lobby of a building, and after a few minutes a cop came in and said everything was fine… Just another day in America.”
Times Square is safe and secure per @NYPDNews. The noises earlier were motorcycles backfiring, not gunshots.
But what people felt was all too real.
Nobody should have to live in constant fear of gun violence. This country is better than this.
Let’s FIX this NOW. https://t.co/5xPkw6TGnZ
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) August 7, 2019
1.00 Trump 2020 Tees
People fleeing and hiding from #timessquare after suspected live shooter #NewYork we caught this from our hotel bar 10th floor #police confirmed this was not a live shooter #timessquare #NYC pic.twitter.com/IKfagFbtzy
— The Daniels Group (@DanielsGrp) August 7, 2019