False Report Of Shooting At D.C. Pride Parade Causes Panic
WASHINGTON, D.C - There was chaos and panic as people took off running at the Washington D.C. Pride Parade on Saturday after someone in the crowd yelled there was someone with a gun, police said. Seven people were transported to local hospitals for minor injuries, D.C. police said at a press conference.
Police recovered a gun from a backpack, but no gunshots were fired, said Dustin Sternbeck, a police spokesman. According to a police report obtained by CBS News, a suspect was arrested and charged with possession of a prohibited weapon, possession of a BB gun, carrying a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct. The man reportedly claimed someone had struck his significant other.
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."