DETROIT (WWJ) – A police official says a group of teenagers who threw firecrackers into a crowd at Monday night’s fireworks show in Detroit sparked a series of events that sent hundreds of people running from the riverfront.
Panic spread through downtown’s Hart Plaza just 10 minutes into the annual fireworks event after the phrase “Shots fired” was heard broadcasting through police radios.
“We heard the officers say that shots was fired and everybody just started running, man. We was right down at the waterfront, and the police started running from the river, and I heard them on the radio saying shots was fired,” said Billy James, who was there with his children.
An undetermined number of people were injured in the rush to leave the area. After the incident Detroit police said there was no confirmation of any gunfire, leading to confusion among hundreds of people who claimed police responded to a shooting.
As it turns out, the whole situation was actually sparked by a group of teenagers who threw a string of firecrackers into a crowd and ran away, according to a police official who spoke to the Detroit News.
The firecrackers apparently caused an officer on the scene to yell “Shots fired” over the police radio. Other officers who picked up on the false broadcast reacted accordingly, as did those bystanders who also heard the transmission.
About 800,000 people attended this year’s fireworks.