CENTRAL PARK, NY — Chaos erupted in Central Park late Saturday when a fence fell during the Global Citizen Festival, leading many to believe a gunman had started shooting. Thousands evacuated the park within minutes and seven people were reportedly hurt during the ordeal.
Witnesses told The New York Times panicked concert-goers nearly stampeded out of the park in some areas. Running people tried to seek cover, hopped over fences and even trampled each other. Some frightened attendees tearfully called friends and family and others lost their personal belongings and became separated from their parties, the Times reported, citing social media reports.
But the NYPD tweeted around 7:45 p.m. that there was not, in fact, a gunman. A barrier — reportedly a fence — had fallen.
“There were NO SHOTS FIRED at #GlobalCitizenFestival,” the NYPD tweeted. “The sound was a fallen barrier.”
Video posted on social media showed a spotlight hover over people ducking for cover. The crowd then breaks out into an all-out sprint. An estimated 60,000 people attended the festival, but only a small number of them sprinted away.
A falling grate sounded like a gunshot at #globalcitizen in Central Park and people ran from the park in a panic. There’s hundreds of lost shoes all over the place. I showed up after as people were leaving and crying. pic.twitter.com/lvudBGX0LQ
— Jeremy Berman (@Jeremy_A_Berman) September 30, 2018
“This is the world we now live in,” tweeted Mike McGranaghan, a film critic. “This is how common mass shootings are.”
Christina Ginn, a producer at NBC who was at the festival, said she was nearly trampled.
“Yes I was at #GlobalCitizen. And yes we were up front. Nearly got trampled. Having to hold your wife in the middle of a field of running people who thought they were being shot at is not my favorite thing. Headed home,” Ginn tweeted.
People at the park said NYPD helicopters circled the area during the hysteria. Hugh Evans, CEO of the festival, told WNBC-TV that seven people suffered minor injuries.
The Global Citizen movement seeks to end extreme poverty by 2030. Among the artists who were to sing at the festival: Janet Jackson, The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes and Cardi B.
60,000 people evacuated from Central Park. NYPD choppers in the air, scary situation. pic.twitter.com/q0KTyYigo9
— Rakshak (@Rak_City) September 29, 2018
Chaos breaks out at Global Citizen Festival in Central Park in NYC. People sprint for Exits. #GlobalCitizenFestival pic.twitter.com/qlFB6OXcFj
— Allen Devlin (@allendevlin_) September 29, 2018
Photo credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP