Police arrest man after false report of shooting causes panic at Capital Pride parade

More than half a dozen people have been transported to local area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries and a man is in custody after a false report of a shooting at the Capital Pride parade created confusion among participants and spectators near Dupont Circle, D.C., police said.

Around 7:20 p.m. Saturday, police officers responded to a report of a man with a gun in the park. Officers stopped the individual and recovered a gun close by, police Cmdr. Guillermo Rivera said.

“There was no evidence at all that any shots were fired,” he said. “At this point, one male suspect has been arrested for possession of what appears to be a handgun.”

According to police, seven people were transported to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries. D.C. Fire and EMS also treated several other individuals for minor injures at the scene, Rivera said.

On their Facebook page, Capital Pride Alliance announced that all activities scheduled for Sunday would go on as planned.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted at 8:24 p.m. on Saturday that reports of shots fired at the event were wrong and that there was not an active threat.

Kevin Donahue, D.C.’s deputy major for public safety and justice, said in a separate tweet that people were injured while running from what they thought were gunshots.

Elizabeth Hernandez, 19, was among the thousands celebrating LGBTQ pride in the city when she said she heard “pop, pop” and suddenly barricades were being tossed over and a crowd of people starting running frantically from the area.

“Everything fell and everyone said ‘run!,'” said Hernandez, of Falls Church, Virginia. She ran down the block and was pushed into a restaurant, where she went into a bathroom with a group of fellow revelers.

Ashley Smith, the president of Capital Pride Alliance, which puts on the event, said he saw people running toward him from Dupont Circle.

“We cannot allow this incident, until we know all the facts of it, we cannot allow this incident to ruin the pride celebration going on this weekend,” Smith said. “We’re very focused on wanting to make sure we continue to have a great event for the rest of the weekend.” He said the group spends extensive time planning security procedures.

WTOP’s Dave Dildine described people jumping off floats and running in all directions after the crowd started yelling “active shooter.”

D.C. police is asking anyone with information about the incident to come forward.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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