A man pulled out a BB gun during an altercation during Saturday’s Capital Pride Parade, causing widespread panic and mistaken reports of an active shooter, police say. Several people were hurt in the chaos as hundreds fled.
D.C Police Chief Peter Newsham confirmed to News4 that a shooting did not occur at the Dupont Circle festival on Saturday. A police report released Sunday shows that the confusion may have started when a man pulled out a BB gun.
Aftabjit Singh, 38, will appear in court Monday on misdemeanor charges.
According to a police incident report, Singh said he pulled out the fake gun to threaten an unknown person who was hitting his significant other.
Numerous people told News4 that they heard gunshots, but police maintain there was no evidence of a shooting. It’s unclear if the BB gun was fired.
About 7:20 p.m., nearly three hours into the parade, officers ran into Dupont as parade attendees fled, some shouting that there was a man with a gun. Some said that the man had fired.
Police say one concerned citizen flagged down an officer, Blaise Maio, and pointed out Singh and a brown bag under a tree. Maio saw the suspect head toward the bag and stopped him. In the partially open bag, Maio reported he saw what appeared to be a silver handgun.
It was later determined that the gun was not a real handgun, but an imitation pistol that Singh identified as a BB gun.
Singh was arrested on offenses including possession of a BB gun, carrying a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct.
While in police custody, Singh allegedly threatened to shoot the person he was earlier in an altercation with.
“I’ll be back,” he said, according to police.
The suspect’s “actions caused widespread fear of multiple individuals who were spectating the Capital Pride Parade,” the police reports says.
A woman in the area was also arrested for allegedly assaulting an officer. It’s unclear if the suspects knew each other, but police said the incidents are not related.
Video shows hundreds of people running from Dupont Circle, flooding into hotels and businesses. Several people reported on social media that they were taking cover in basements or bathrooms.
Elizabeth Hernandez, 19, heard a “pop, pop,” she told the Associated Press. She said she ran, was pushed into a restaurant and hid in a bathroom.
“Everything fell and everyone said ‘run!,'” Hernandez, of Falls Church, Virginia, told AP.
“I went inside and got on the floor with people who had come from Dupont Circle and said there had been a shooting,” another woman said. “We didn’t know anything.”
D.C. Fire and EMS confirmed that they were called to the Dupont area for reports of several injured people after people panicked when they heard accounts of a person with a gun. Some were treated on the scene. Seven people were transported to the hospital.
D.C. Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Kevin Donahue confirmed there was no active shooter.
The Capital Pride parade ended early after the incident, but organizers says all other events will continue as planned with extra security precautions.
Police say that they were unaware of any threats or hate language targeted at the parade, but encourage anyone with information to contact the police tip line at 202-727-9099.
Stay with News4 and NBCWashington.com for updates to this developing story.
Photo Credit: News4
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Source: NBC San Diego