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Paraders Thought They Heard Gunshots, Panicked

Man is taken into custody after melee, but no shots fired at DC Capitol Pride Parade
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 9, 2019 6:50 AM CDT
Police officers speak with a woman behind crime scene tape, Saturday, June 8, 2019, at Dupont Circle in Washington. Officials in Washington say several people were injured after a panic at the LGBTQ pride...   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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(Newser) – A panic caused by a mistaken belief that a gun had been fired during a pride parade in the nation's capital sent people running through the city's streets, reports the AP. Police said some who fled had minor injuries and seven were taken to hospitals. "As the officers were going to the scene, there was a crowd of people going away from it and some of the individuals in the crowd said there was a man with a gun and that someone had fired a shot," said Guillermo Rivera, with the Metropolitan Police Department. The man was taken into custody and is facing a gun possession charge, Rivera said. City officials said no shots were fired Saturday evening. "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," tweeted Kevin Donahue, the deputy mayor for public safety.

Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted that she had been briefed by police and there were "no shots fired." She said fire department personnel were "on the scene to treat minor injuries / due to reports of a shooting." Elizabeth Hernandez, 19, was among the thousands celebrating LGBTQ pride when she said she heard "pop, pop" and suddenly barricades were being tossed over and a crowd of people starting running frantically. "Everything fell and everyone said 'run!,'" said Hernandez, of Falls Church, Va. 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 event sponsor Capital Pride Alliance, says the group spends extensive time planning security procedures. "We cannot allow this incident to ruin the pride celebration," Smith said. Rivera said police felt they had an "adequate amount of resources on the ground, which is why we were able to respond so quickly."

(Read more gay pride stories.)

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