Panic on London's Oxford Street after reports of shooting

LONDON, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Panic erupted among Christmas shopping crowds on London's Oxford Street on Friday evening as armed officers raced to respond to reports of shots being fired in the area, but police said later they had found no evidence of gunfire or casualties.

Oxford Street, with its festive window displays and hundreds of overhead lights, was crammed with shoppers taking advantage of the Black Friday sales when the incident happened shortly after dusk.

London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement they had found no evidence of gunfire, casualties or any suspects and that the incident, which lasted for just over an hour, had been stood down.

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Panic in London's Oxford St. after reports of shooting
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Panic in London's Oxford St. after reports of shooting
Armed police officers stand on Oxford Street, London, Britain November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Armed police officersstand on Oxford Street, London, Britain November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Simon Dawson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A woman stumbes as people run down Oxford Street, London, Britain November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
People run down Oxford Street, London, Britain November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
People run down Oxford Street, London, Britain November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
An armed police officer ducks under police tape on Oxford Street, London, Britain November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
People run down Oxford Street, London, Britain November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
A police officer walks along Oxford Street, in central London, Britain November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Armed police officers walk along Oxford Street, London, Britain November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Police vehicles are parked in the Oxford Street area in central London, Britain November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Armed police walk along Oxford Street, London, Britain November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Armed police run along Oxford Street, London, Britain November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Armed police officers walk along Oxford Street, London, Britain November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
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"Given the nature of the information received, the Met responded in line with our existing operation as if the incident was terrorism, including the deployment of armed officers," the police said in a statement.

British Transport Police posted CCTV images of two men on Twitter, saying they believed that an altercation had erupted between the two men at the Oxford Circus underground station and said they would like to speak to the men, "who they believe may have information about the incident and the circumstances around the incident." http://bit.ly/2jkkVNT

A Reuters witness said panicked shoppers had fled Oxford Street and the Oxford Circus underground station.

The witness saw an elderly lady and a man carrying a child knocked over in the rush. "There were people running in all directions. I didn't know which way to run," the witness said.

The transport police said they had received a report of one woman suffering a minor injury in the panic.

The capital's transport operator, Transport for London, said the Oxford Circus and Bond Street stations, which were briefly shut due to the incident, had later reopened. (Additional reporting by David Milliken, William Schomberg, James Davey and Shalini Nagarajan; Writing by Michael Holden; Editing by Stephen Addison and Leslie Adler)

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