A small panic occurred in New York City on Tuesday as two motorcycles, driving through the heart of Times Square, had their engines backfire, which caused many in the vicinity to worry they were actually gunshots.
The incident happened at 10 p.m. Tuesday evening. Thousands of individuals, hearing the sounds or reacting to those who did, ran in the opposite direction that the backfiring engines came from, many going north on Broadway to make their escape from what they thought was a violent attack.
NYPD said they received numerous calls from concerned citizens about the incident, ABC News reported. The department issued a tweet to announce there wasn’t an imminent threat.
— NYPD Midtown North (@NYPDMTN) August 7, 2019
As a result of the panic, six individuals received minor injuries that required medical attention, the New York Fire Department said.
It wouldn’t be unusual for individuals in the area to hear such noises and express concern in some way over whether they were gunfire or not.
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Backfiring motorcycles were mistaken for gunshots from an active shooter, causing panic in New York’s Times Square on Tuesday. Two mass shootings last weekend left a combined total of at least 31 dead and police say the motorcycles backfiring led people to believe they were at the center of a third. Confusion turned to fear and then chaos, but police quickly announced that there was nothing to fear. "There is no #ActiveShooter in #TimesSquare. Motorcycles backfiring while passing through sounded like gun shots," the NYPD Midtown North said. Several pedestrians were injured in the chaos. They had bruises and lacerations, but nothing was life-threatening, it was reported.
But the panic was likely fueled in part due to two mass shootings that occurred over the weekend, one in El Paso, Texas, the other in Dayton, Ohio, which collectively saw more than 30 individuals killed and dozens more injured.
Another mass shooting, in Gilroy, California, occurred a week before last weekend’s shootings and also claimed the lives of three individuals, NPR reported.
There have been 255 mass shootings in 2019 so far, according to the Gun Violence Archive. That organization defines a mass shooting as an incident where at least four individuals are shot, not including the shooter, Business Insider reported.
Worry over the continued prevalence of mass shooting events has prompted many to call for action in the form of federal legislation.
As previously reported on at HillReporter.com, a focus group of 12 swing voters in Minnesota unanimously agreed that a ban on assault weapons should be implemented. That group included eight individuals who voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, who is opposed to such measures.