Panicked spectators flee downtown Orlando after SHOOTING scare at Lake Eola fireworks show

Police say there is no evidence of a shooting at the Fourth of July celebration. But, the panic created commotion resulting in some minor injuries

Panicked spectators flee downtown Orlando after SHOOTING scare at Lake Eola fireworks show
Spectators confused the Orlando’s fireworks display at Lake Eola with the gunshots that created a commotion (Screenshots/@GordonFolkes and @PatrickNurseFTW via Twitter)
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ORLANDO, FLORIDA: The fireworks celebration at Lake Eola was disrupted on Monday, July 4, due to reports of a shooting that caused those in the crowd to flee. The fireworks display continued on as people abandoned their chairs and mats to find shelter. Spectators confused the fireworks with the gunshots that created a commotion. A mass shooting at Highland Park Chicago on the Fourth of July parade earlier Monday, June 4, that left six dead likely contributed to spectators’ unease in Orlando. Two police officers also were shot in Philadelphia at a July 4th celebration in that city Monday, July 4 night.

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However, the Orlando Police Department wrote on Twitter that there is "no evidence of shooting". “IMPORTANT MESSAGE: To our community members now in Downtown Orlando, please know that there is NO evidence of a shooting in the area. Our officers are now working to secure the area. There is NO public safety hazard at this time.” WKMG-Channel 6, which was broadcasting the event live, lost audio of the band playing at Lake Eola’s bandshell and then went to a static picture of the fireworks. Anchors Ginger Gadsden and Lisa Bell said they fled their position after being told about the crowd panicking.

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Many videos of the incident surfaced on Twitter. 


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“We are so traumatized as a country, and certainly our community. It was just six years ago that we lost 49 people just blocks from here in a horrible shooting,” Bell said. “So when you see thousands upon thousands of people literally running for their lives, scared that they are about to be gunned down in the middle of downtown Orlando, it’s only natural that you also get scared", Orlando Sentinel reported. 

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Orlando Rep Anna V Eskamani wrote on Twitter, "Downtown Orlando Update: Hearing that someone threw fireworks behind a group of people during the fireworks celebration, causing panic and people scattering everywhere. The area is being secured by law enforcement but no evidence of gun violence at this time. We will share more."


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The Police Department said that no serious injuries were written. "At this time, it appears that noise during the fireworks shows confused some spectators, causing the reaction. No serious injuries have been reported. Only minor injuries were suffered by some spectators who fell during the commotion", OPD wrote.


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An Orange County Sheriff’s Office SUV with lights flashing was driving down Central Boulevard broadcasting that message: “If you are missing any children go to Rosalind and Robinson.” "FAMILIES AND LOVED ONES! If you were separated, you can make your way to our Family Reunification Designated Area at N. Rosalind Ave. & E. Robinson St. Spread the Word", OPD wrote on Twitter.

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Brenda Jules, one of the spectators who was watching the fireworks with her four small children lost sight of her 7-year-old son when the chaos began. Fortunately, they were reunited at a first aid station at Rosalind Avenue and Robinson Street, Orlando Sentinel reported.

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Later on, OPD shared that all the families had been reunited. "UPDATE: We are happy to announce that all families at the Family Reunification Center at Rosalind & Robinson have been reunited! ** The LOST & FOUND AREA has been moved to the Lake Eola Parks Office at N. Eola Dr. & E. Washington St. Thank you for sharing!". 


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Shortly after 11 pm, the police department tweeted that residents who had abandoned items in the park were free to retrieve them. “Our officers remain in the area to ensure you can do so safely. We have also set up a Lost and Found Area at Rosalind Ave. & E. Robinson St.”


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