A panic caused by a mistaken belief that gunshots were fired during a pride parade in Washington, D.C., sent people running through the streets of the nation’s capital on Saturday evening, city officials said. They reported that some suffered minor injuries.
“There is NO Active Shooter at Dupont Circle. There are injuries from people running from what they thought were gunshots. But there is NO ACTIVE SHOOTER at Dupont Circle,” Kevin Donahue, the deputy mayor for public safety, said in a tweet.
Police recovered a gun from a backpack, but no gunshots were fired, said Dustin Sternbeck, a police spokesman.
Elizabeth Hernandez, 19, was among the hundreds celebrating pride when she said she heard “pop, pop” and suddenly barricades were being tossed over and a crowd of people starting running frantically from the area.
“Everything fell and everyone said ‘run!,'” said Hernandez, of Falls Church, Virginia. She ran down the block and was pushed into a restaurant, where she went into a bathroom with a group of fellow revelers.
Ashley Smith, the president of Capital Pride Alliance, which puts on the event, said he saw people running toward him from Dupont Circle.
“We cannot allow this incident, until we know all the facts of it, we cannot allow this incident to ruin the pride celebration going on this weekend,” Smith said. “We’re very focused on wanting to make sure we continue to have a great event for the rest of the weekend.” He said the group spends extensive time planning security procedures.
Mayor Muriel Bowser, in a statement posted on Twitter, confirmed that no shots were fired and said fire department personnel were “on the scene to treat minor injuries / due to reports of a shooting.”
A fire department spokesman said emergency medical personnel tended to people who were injured, but could not immediately provide any additional information about the number of victims or the extent of their injuries.