Chaos erupted at New York Penn Station Friday evening after police used a taser on a man, causing mass panic among passengers inside the station who thought there was an active shooter.
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) April 14, 2017
— Erica Byfield (@EricaByfield4NY) April 14, 2017
Passengers fled from the station in a stampede—fearing for their lives, fearing that a mass shooting was taking place over the holiday weekend, the Daily Mail reported.
Video footage captured hundreds of panicked passengers rushing for the exit, knocking over others in their path.
Splattered food, shoes, and discarded suitcases were left on the floor in the aftermath of the stampede.
The panic began when Amtrak Police tasered two men in an attempt to detain them for disobeying orders, WABC reported.
The fire department reported that a total of 16 people were injured. Twelve of them were taken to local hospitals.
The popping sound of the taser led some people to believe there was gunfire in the terminal, and the rumors spread.
“People were dropping luggage, kids, everybody was just running,” one witness told NBC Philadelphia.
No shots were fired at Penn Station this evening. FDNY is on scene treating injuries that were sustained during panic.
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) April 14, 2017
Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote on Twitter that there were “no shots fired at Penn Station” to quash the rumors.
People returned to the station to retrieve their belongings within the hour.
There were also false reports of shots fired at Macy’s in Herald Square, just a block away from Penn Station.
— NYPDCounterterrorism (@NYPDCT) April 14, 2017
NYPD’s Counterterrorism Bureau put those rumors to rest in a tweet, saying they were “unfounded” at this time.