Hundreds of worried people ran through Times Square in a panic after thinking they heard gunshots on Tuesday night. The noise turned out to be a motorcycle backfiring, but, after multiple mass shootings across the country, concerns about gunfire have been top of mind. Harlem resident Evan Dore was there and told WCBS 2, "It's a shame the climate of America is like that."
One person told WABC 7, "All of a sudden I heard this kind of muffled pop and said what was that, and I looked over and there was just a sea of people running. I had one or two seconds to think, is this really happening?"
"We just hear ‘pop, pop, pop…’ I thought that somebody just came in and started shooting people," another recalled.
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
"Everyone thought there was a shooter coming down the streets. I thought I was going to watch my daughter get shot down in front of me," Bridget Siljander told NBC New York.
The motorcycle backfired around 9:45 p.m. A man who works in the area described, "They were all running, like running everywhere. Almost got hit by cars and everything. They jumped out of shoes. There were shoes everywhere."
By 10:09 p.m., the NYPD was reassuring visitors that there was no shooter.
There is no #ActiveShooter in #TimesSquare. Motorcycles backfiring while passing through sounded like gun shots.
We are recieving multiple 911 calls. Please don’t panic. The Times Square area is very safe! @NYPDnews @NYPDTimesSquare
— NYPD Midtown North (@NYPDMTN) August 7, 2019
Here is what an empty, near-lifeless Times Square looks like, as everyone ominously stands around waiting for answers, trying to pick up the remnants of their evening just a few minutes after pure and utter panic. This is America now. pic.twitter.com/aPjsDEG9me
— Daniel Sinclair (@_DanielSinclair) August 7, 2019
Police say that 22 people were injured, with four admitted to the hospital. Tourist Tara Clauuson, who had been at a show, said to WCBS 2 that she "wanted to protect my children. Safety and praying that this wasn’t the end. We were frightened, because this is the world we live in, and it shouldn’t have to be this way. Shouldn’t have to have girls with their whole life in front of them be afraid."