ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando Police Department reaffirmed Tuesday that so far there is no evidence that gunfire or a shooting took place Monday night during the city's Fourth of July fireworks show at Lake Eola, which prompted hundreds of people to suddenly run away from the park in the middle of the show.
About a dozen people were hurt in the rush to leave the park, and nearly a dozen people, including kids, were briefly separated from their families, police said. All were reunited on Monday night.
While still under investigation, Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said it appears a noise near the crowd may have sparked an initial person or group of people to run away, which prompted others to follow.
Videos taken from high-rise buildings in the area showed a mass of people along downtown Orlando streets, hiding behind buildings, or hiding in parking garages. Other videos taken from the ground showed people running, shouting, and crying. More than 100,000 people are believed to have attended the event, according to a spokesperson for the City of Orlando.
In video shared with FOX 35 News, hundreds of people are seen running and someone in the crowd can be heard saying, "go go go go!" as people funneled into a building. In a tweet late Monday, Orlando police it appears a noise during the show caused people to believe there was a shooting.
Watch below: Orlando police share updates in investigation into apparent faux scare at Lake Eola
"I LOOKED DOWN AND SAW A LOT OF PEOPLE RUNNING"
FOX 35 spoke to several people who were either there at the time or watched the scene unfold from residential balconies.
"I thought, to be completely honest with you, it was like 911 the Orlando version," said Jacob Martin who had attended the event with his pregnant friend. When the fireworks were delayed he felt something was up, so they left early. "If we hadn’t left, and I made a five-second decision we probably would’ve got hurt," said Martin.
Josh Fleming was watching the show from his apartment at Camden Lake Eola when he saw people fleeing. "I heard someone yell shooting two or three times, and then you saw people running," said Fleming.
He said after seeing what happened in Highland Park earlier in the day the images outside his home were surreal. "There are people picking up their children and running across the street," said Fleming. "People were literally running outside trying to get as far as they could and a lot of other people were just confused as to why they’re running so quickly."
Christopher Summers watched from his balcony as people hid in a parking garage and tried to jump a fence outside his apartment complex. "I thought someone really must’ve shut off a gun but when I saw everybody panicked we weren’t 15 or 20 minutes into the show and everyone panicked and taking off," said Summers.
NEW CCTV VIDEO RELEASED BY POLICE
Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon on Tuesday released new video that showed a couple of people jogging through the crowd with hoodies on. Moments later, the crowd starts to run away from the area, and a chain reaction begins, seemingly starting in the back of the park and slowly moved forward.
According to a timestamp on the video, it was taken from the Lake Eola Pedestrian Bridge.
"Still have not found any evidence to indicate that something like a shot was fired or anything like that occurred," Chief Rolon said. He added that the two people who were seen jogging could have nothing to do with the mass panic but said it is still under investigation.
"Those two individuals maybe by coincidence were coming through," he said. "What we are asking for is for anyone who is in the area of Central specifically near Central and Rosalind. I’m sure there’s a video they took or that they saw something."
Chief Rolon said if someone purposely came out to Lake Eola to create this panic, "obviously, we’re going to look for anything we can find in the books to potentially charge them." He added, "We cannot allow fear to dictate how it is that we live our lives"
HOW TO SHARE VIDEOS FROM LAKE EOLA WITH ORLANDO POLICE
Orlando police have created a website where people can send in photos or videos from Monday night's incident at Lake Eola. They're asking anyone who was there and shot video to share it with police who help determine what happened.
Here is how to submit video:
- Visit https://orlandopd.evidence.com
- Click "submit evidence" and enter cell phone number (first name, last name, birth date are optional)
- A text message will be sent to your phone with a prompt to upload videos and photos
- Click submit
LOST AND FOUND
Those who may have left items at Lake Eola Park have been asked to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide a description of the item. Someone will then get back to you if that item is there.
A spokesperson said there were about 50 items, including car keys, cell phones, and shows. Most had been retrieved.