Social: Thousands Flee As Motorcycle Backfire Causes Panic In Times Square
There was widespread panic in the theatre district tonight when crowds mistook a motorcycle backfire for gunshots.
According to the NYC Police Scanner, thousands of people panicked in what reports have called a 'stampede' out of Times Square following the backfire.
NYPD on the scene have confirmed a group of passing motorcycles as the source of the sound.
There is no #ActiveShooter in #TimesSquare. Motorcycles backfiring while passing through sounded like gun shots.- NYPD Midtown North (@NYPDMTN) August 7, 2019
We are recieving multiple 911 calls. Please don't panic. The Times Square area is very safe! @NYPDnews @NYPDTimesSquare
Several Broadway shows reported interruptions as the incident unfolded. Andrew Barth Feldman, star of Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen, described the scene inside the the Music Box Theater on Twitter.
This is how screwed up our country is. We all had to stay in our dressing rooms, audience members had to stay in the theater. People were sobbing, calling their loved ones, hiding behind seats and in the dressing rooms, and were separated from their families and groups. https://t.co/HWcMdLQVlr- Andrew Barth Feldman (@andrewbfeldman) August 7, 2019
The show came to a halt over at the hit production of To Kill A Mockingbird, when panicked tourists attempted to enter the theatre for safety.
Tonight during my last speech in the play there was panic at our theater because a motorcycle backfired near Shubert Alley & people believed there was an active shooter & tried to get into the theater for safety. This was terrifying for the audience who heard screaming & banging- Celia Keenan-Bolger (@celiakb) August 7, 2019
Stopped our show tonight due to a motorcycle backfire that was mistaken for a bomb or a shooting. Screaming civilians tried to storm our theater for safety. The audience started screaming and the cast fled the stage. This is the world we live in. This cannot be our world.- Gideon Glick (@gidglick) August 7, 2019
Other actors and eyewitnesses shared their experiences during the panic on social media:
Was inside a bar around the corner and a crowd of crying teens and families stampeded through the doors, many of them international tourists who couldn't figure out what we thought was happening as we hid under tables and furiously texted people.- Blessedterns (@Blessedterns) August 7, 2019
This is the American experience. https://t.co/yiPN6AWBGg
The @BeMoreChill stage door was cancelled as everyone in Times Square ran in panic. A motorcycle backfired but people assumed it was an active shooter. Cops yelling for people to "get down", hundreds of people running. Times Square is flooded with police right now.- Jason SweetTooth (@jasonsweettooth) August 7, 2019
A similar scene down the block. I've never been so scared in my life, and I cannot imagine what the people outside felt. https://t.co/JiM4uqp6Ll- Alex Boniello (@AlexBoniello) August 7, 2019
One of the scariest moments ever. Stampede in #timessquare and hiding in the basement of a theater given reports of an active shooter. Thank God it was a false alarm and agree with guy. This is FKD up! Still shaking. https://t.co/y8k3q53gQY- Maria Laino DeLuca (@MariaDeLaino) August 7, 2019
BREAKING. A motorcycle that backfired in Times Square was confused by people thinking it was gunfire, causing panic and hysteria, sending hundreds running. pic.twitter.com/BeKUgZTVZr- Breaking News Feed (@pzf) August 7, 2019
People fleeing and hiding from #timessquare after suspected live shooter #NewYork we caught this from our hotel bar 10th floor #police confirmed this was not a live shooter #timessquare #NYC pic.twitter.com/IKfagFbtzy- The Daniels Group (@DanielsGrp) August 7, 2019
So we're in Times Square and everyone starts running and screaming "SHOOTER." So we start running and bust into Richard Rodgers Theatre: The Home of Hamilton. Everyone is frantic and crying and Beth and I are SHAKING bc we're on the stage where @Lin_Manuel preformed pic.twitter.com/s5l36dqUqZ- nichole elise (@nichole_5909) August 7, 2019