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Video captures panic in Times Square after motorcycle backfiring is mistaken for gunfire

Lauren Frias , Business Insider US
 Aug 07, 2019, 11:13 AM

  • A motorcycle backfired in Times Square on Tuesday night, inciting panic as people mistook the sound for gunshots and fled in panic from a non-existent threat.
  • Police said they received multiple 911 calls regarding the incident and reassured the public that Times Square is "very safe."
  • People posted on social media saying that the incident exemplified the mentality of fear that continues to rock the US following two mass shootings that claimed over 30 lives this past weekend.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

People in Times Square were fleeing in panic after mistaking a motorcycle backfiring for gunshots on Tuesday night, exemplifying the residual fear resonating throughout the US following a series of back-to-back mass shootings.

After receiving multiple 911 calls, police attributed the sounds of gunshots to motorcycles backfiring as they passed through the area. They urged people not to panic and reassured visitors that Times Square was "very safe."

A video from a hotel bar captured Times Square visitors fleeing in fear.

In light of two mass shootings that took over 30 lives, panic spread throughout social media, as well as rumors of an active shooter in the area.

"Really cool to fully believe that you're in active shooter situation because that's everyone's first thought when they hear a motorcycle backfiring in times square!!!" and editor at SELF Magazine tweeted.

Broadway actor Gideon Glick tweeted about the incident saying that his show was stopped due to the incident.

"Screaming civilians tried to storm our theater for safety," Glick said on Twitter. "The audience started screaming and the cast fled the stage. This is the world we live in. This cannot be our world."

Following the incident New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that "Times Square is safe and secure per [the NYPD]. The noises earlier were motorcycles backfiring, not gunshots."

"But what people felt was all too real," he continued. "Nobody should have to live in constant fear of gun violence. This country is better than this. Let's FIX this NOW."

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