There’s almost a sense of mass hysteria these days with citizens expecting another potential shooting in America at any moment. This was exemplified in Time Square recently as someone mistook a motorcycle backfiring for an active shooter in the area. Numerous videos and pictures show hundreds of people fleeing in terror, sparking a stampede that left 22 people injured.
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The incident took place at the Crossroads of the World Tuesday night at around 9:30 p.m. when a motorcycle backfired multiple times, leaving numerous people thinking another mass shooting had occured, the NYPD reported.
As the masses fled in terror, there were people that were almost hit by cars as they ran across the street. Multiple children were also separated from their parents doing the ordeal, the Daily Mail reported.
A large number of people ran into Richard Rodgers Theatre where a play was taking place. Those who were already in attendance reportedly heard screaming and thought they were about to be attacked, according to Broadway actor Gideon Glick.
The NYPD tried to gain control of the situation by informing people on Twitter there was no shooter. “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! @NYPDnews @NYPDTimesSquare.”
People who were in the crowds fleeing took to social media to explain someone yelled “shooter” after the motorcycle backfired.
Evan Dore, a Harlem resident who heard the backfire, told media outlets: “It sounded like gunshots, it definitely did. Two or three thousand people, maybe, just dissipated into thin air.”
Ace Guzman was in the area as he works in Time Square and recalled seeing a sea of bodies rushing in one direction. “[People] were all running, like running everywhere. Almost got hit by cars and everything. They jumped out of shoes. There were shoes everywhere.”
During the commotion, the NYPD reported 22 people were injured as they tried to flee. None of those individuals are facing life-threating injuries.
NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio tried to reassure the people in his city by taking to Twitter. “Times Square is safe and secure, but the panic and fear people felt tonight was all too real. Nobody should have to live in constant fear of gun violence. NOBODY.”
The scare comes days after two mass shootings took place last weekend.