Reports of gunfire during the Washington, D.C., Capital Pride Parade led to chaos and sent crowds fleeing, though police later confirmed that there was no shooting at the massive gathering.
Several people attending the parade reported on social media the sound of gunfire that sent thousands of people scattering. Some people at the event captured video of the aftermath, showing a confusing and chaotic scene.
Vice reporter Matt Laslo shared video of the chaotic aftermath on Twitter, showing scores of people running down a street after the reports of gunfire. Another video showed people ducking inside of a coffee shop during the chaos.
The reports did not note how the reports of gunfire spread, but NBC Washington later reported that the rumors of an active shooter had not been correct. Police did say that a gun was recovered from the backpack of a person in Dupont Circle, but that the gun itself was never brandished and no threats were made. It was not clear whether any participants had mistakenly heard something they believed to be gunfire.
While the reports of a gunman at the Capital Pride Parade may have been false, there were a number of real injuries in the chaos that ensued. As NBC Washington reported, D.C. Fire and EMS were called to the Dupont area for reports of several injuries from the panic that followed after the false reports of a gunman. There were no reports of serious injuries, however.
Breaking: A false report of an active shooter at the Capital Pride parade have triggered panic. https://t.co/2hkvXlWAQ4
— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) June 8, 2019
Pandemonium at gay pride in Washington D.C. everyone down, everyone down, seems someone with a gun shooting, gunshots close to White House at DC gay pride @cnni @CNN @FoxNews @nytimes @HuffPost @washingtonpost pic.twitter.com/4gyuSh98g5
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) June 8, 2019
BREAKING: Massive crowds have fled the Washington D.C. pride march amid reports of gunshots.pic.twitter.com/XEZlwmj9tK
— Harry Cherry (@TheHarryCherry) June 8, 2019
The Capital Pride Parade included more than 200 contingents from the community representing non-profits, community organizations, companies, and government agencies, NBC Washington noted in a preview of the event. The celebration was expected to draw thousands of people, with a focus on community development.
“It’s not just about rainbow logos on Bank of America. It’s really about, what are we doing to move the community forward?” said Brandon Wolf, the parade’s grand marshal.
There are a number of Pride Parades scheduled across the country during the month of June, which marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City. The riots that took place in Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn were seen as a major moment in the LGBTQ rights movement, sparking the first pride parades.
There had been some concern for the Pride Month events given the rise in crimes against LGBTQ people, which may have fueled some of the fear that there had been a shooting at the Capital Pride Parade.