Times Square panic: Video shows stampede as crowd mistakes motorcycle backfire for active shooter

The sound of a backfiring motorcycle sent the crowd in New York City's Times Square into a panic Tuesday night, as fleeing visitors mistook the noises for an active shooter, according to WCBS-TV

Police say at least one motorcycle backfired around 10 p.m. at the popular tourist destination, after which pedestrians began stampeding away from the scene. The incident comes after a weekend in which two mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, left 31 dead.  

Video of the panic showed hundreds fleeing the area.  

"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," Dylan Probert told New York's WABC. "I had one or two seconds to think, is this really happening?"

The New York Police Department received multiple 911 calls within minutes, as some people screamed "shooter" while fleeing the scene. The NYPD quickly tweeted that the area was safe.

"There is no #ActiveShooter in #TimesSquare. Motorcycles backfiring while passing through sounded like gun shots," the NYPD Midtown North said on Twitter.

At least six people were taken to the hospital with injuries incurred during the stampede, according to WABC. All injuries were reportedly just minor bruises and lacerations. 

One Times Square visitor tweeted from inside the Disney Store, seemingly showing people hiding in the shop's storage area. 

The Times Square incident was not the only false alarm on Tuesday. Patrons at the Valley Fair Mall in West Valley City, Utah, were sent into a similar panic when a falling sign triggered fears of an active shooter, according to KSTU.

Similar to in New York, shoppers began fleeing the scene after someone yelled, "shots!" Police quickly arrived and defused the situation. There were no major injuries. 

Both of last weekend's shootings involved semi-automatic weapons and took place in public spaces. The first, in which a gunman with anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic sentiments opened fire at a Walmart shopping center in El Paso, left 22 people dead. The second occurred just 14 hours later at a bar in Dayton and claimed the lives of nine victims. 

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