Panic at DC Pride Parade Sends Crowds Running, Gets Some Injured

Several people were injured after a panic at the LGBTQ+ pride parade sent people running through the streets of the nation's capital, according to District of Columbia Deputy Mayor Kevin Donahue.

The panic happened Saturday near Dupont Circle, where crowds of people gathered to celebrate but heard what sounded like a series of gunshots amid the celebrations.

WJLA reporter Tom Roussey said in one of a series of tweets that he heard "three or four very, very loud pops that sent everyone running," and he saw several people were injured "while folks were running away from the noise."

Donahue said in a tweet that there is no gunman. In a tweet, he wrote: "There are injuries from people running from what they thought were gunshots. But there is NO ACTIVE SHOOTER at Dupont Circle."

According to an initial report by The Associated Press, Dustin Sternbeck, a police spokesman, said a gun was recovered by police in a backpack. But he says no gunshots were fired and no one was shot.

Police confirmed to the media later that the man with the gun was arrested.

.@DCPoliceDept says officers found a gun inside Dupont Circle near this man. He is under arrest and will face a gun possession charge. They don’t believe he actually fired it. Their theory is the loud bangs were barricades crashing as the crowd ran away.

— Tom Roussey (@tomrousseyABC7) June 9, 2019

Additionally, a fire department spokesman said emergency medical personnel tended to people who were injured as people ran away from the scene.

WJLA reporter Victoria Sanchez said on Twitter that one man who initially thought there were gunshots later said he thinks it was the sound of gates falling over.

"When you have a lot of people, and it's just a loud bang, you're just trying to get from the area," the unidentified man told Sanchez.

Just spoke with a man who initially thought it was gunshots but now says he thinks it was gates falling over.

— Victoria Sanchez (@VictoriaSanchez) June 9, 2019

After the mayhem, Capital Pride tweeted that the parade was over but a block party would go on as scheduled.

Part of Dupont Circle was apparently taped off, with miscellaneous items scattered around the area—items that people perhaps dropped in the rush to evacuate the area.

Principal Pete Cahall, waves a rainbow flag, symbolizing gay pride, at a rally of about 1000 Woodrow Wilson High School students and gay supporters June 9, 2014 at Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, DC. Getty Images