A motorcycle backfired Tuesday night in Time Square, causing a dramatic scene as people mistook the sound for a gunshot, fleeing in a panicked stampede.
Up to 20 people were injured in the mad rush, reports NBC New York. Footage of the event captured by tourists’ cellphones and security cameras shows a mob of people scrambling to evacuate the area.
WOW: Watch as crowds in #TimesSquare flee what they believed was gunfire after a pair of weekend mass shootings; NYPD says sound was motorcycles backfiring https://t.co/8MzB8W8vhk #LiveDesk #NYC pic.twitter.com/lAdlDh61iK
— Dan Snyder (@DanSnyderFOX25) August 7, 2019
The chaos wasn’t limited to the open air streets of the square. Security footage shows that patrons of business in the area were also sent running for cover.
#EXCLUSIVE: Surveillance video from @JuniorsCheeseck in Midtown shows the panic amid a stampede in Times Square due to a motorcycle backfiring that people mistook for gunshots. @PIX11News pic.twitter.com/Vz9iPf12Sz
— Anthony DiLorenzo (@ADiLorenzoTV) August 7, 2019
The NYPD quickly confirmed that Times Square is safe and free of shooters, urging citizens and tourists to remain calm.
— NYPD Midtown North (@NYPDMTN) August 7, 2019
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted out a call for stricter gun control shortly after the motorcycle backfire was heard.
Times Square is safe and secure per @NYPDNews. The noises earlier were motorcycles backfiring, not gunshots.
But what people felt was all too real.
Nobody should have to live in constant fear of gun violence. This country is better than this.
Let’s FIX this NOW. https://t.co/5xPkw6TGnZ
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) August 7, 2019