A man was arrested for waving a handgun during the Capital Pride Parade in Washington DC — sparking a stampede that left several people in the hospital, according to cops.
The unidentified man was taken into custody during Saturday night’s parade and is facing a gun possession charge, police said.
News of a gun had sparked an active-shooter scare — with officials saying about seven people were taken to a hospital for injuries from a mad stampede away, despite police believing no shots were fired.
“Some of the individuals in the crowd said there was a man with a gun and that someone had fired a shot,” said Commander Guillermo Rivera of the Metropolitan Police Department.
“Officers arrived and stopped an individual and a gun was recovered close by. There is no evidence that any shots were fired, but that’s under investigation,” Rivera said, according to the Washington Blade.
The scare started with a fight where one of the men left and “came back and was waving a gun in the air,” parade-goer Cory Bittner told the Blade.
“That’s when everybody started running.”
Panic spread quickly, with the noise adding to the confusion, according to eyewitnesses.
“We heard people say, ‘Get back, take cover, there’s an active shooter,’ but it was like a big game of telephone,” Dave Kolesar told the Blade.
“As people were coming down, I did hear a few loud bangs, which were obviously the cause of additional panic, but they were probably just the sound of the temporary barriers getting knocked down as people were trying to leave the scene.”
Elizabeth Hernandez, 19, also heard “pop, pop” as barricades were tossed over. “Everything fell and everyone said ‘run!’” she said.
Wow. Imagine living in America where people at a #Pride parade run for their fucking lives only to find out that there was no gun shots. People are traumatized. This is no joke. America, this gun problem is getting out of hand & you are failing us. Fix it. pic.twitter.com/xM6TmdlBX0
— Kenidra4Humanity (@KenidraRWoods_) June 9, 2019
Ashley Smith, the president of the event organizers, Capital Pride Alliance, remained defiant.
“We cannot allow this incident to ruin the pride celebration going on this weekend,” Smith said.