The mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso and Dayton have everyone on edge, and that anxiety played out Tuesday night in New York City after a loud sound sent people running. ABC News reports that thousands of locals and tourists in Times Square started screaming and fleeing in panic around 10pm when several motorcycles cruising through the area suddenly backfired, making people think weapons had been fired. "All of a sudden I heard this kind of muffled pop and said, 'What was that,' and I looked over and there was just a sea of people running," one bystander tells WABC.
Some people sought shelter in nearby stores, as well as in other buildings. One place that people rushed into: the nearby Shubert Theatre, where To Kill a Mockingbird starring Jeff Daniels is enjoying its current run. "Screaming civilians tried to storm our theater for safety," cast member Gideon Glick tweeted afterward. "The audience started screaming and the cast fled the stage. This is the world we live in. This cannot be our world." Vulture notes police were able to tamp down the theater's chaos, which interrupted a performance of the play, within a few minutes. The FDNY says nine people were treated for minor injuries after the incident. (Read more Times Square stories.)