At around 10 p.m. Tuesday night, panic gripped the Times Square area of Manhattan after a backfiring motorcycle was mistaken for gunshots.
I happened to be caught up in the chaos with my family. Upon leaving a Broadway show on West 45th Street, a sea of people rushed toward the theater, shouting and scared.
We ran back into the theater and hid under the seats. Some people climbed onto the stage to seek shelter. Children who had lost their parents screamed out amid the chaos. Abandoned shoes and other personal belongings were strewn about.
After a couple of minutes, the theater staff gave us an “all clear.” But after the weekend’s shooting massacres in El Paso and Dayton, it was obvious everyone was on edge.
A real estate company posted a video from the 10th floor of a hotel in Times Square, showing people running:
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
The New York Police Department eventually tweeted that a motorcycle backfiring was to blame for the chaos. It apparently backfired two to three times, leading people to believe it was gunfire.
— NYPD Midtown North (@NYPDMTN) August 7, 2019
After a few minutes everyone caught their breath and tears were wiped away. But the panic and anxiety everyone felt lingered.