On Tuesday around 10:00 p.m, tourists in Time Square were running for their lives. A dirt bike backfiring was confused by some in the crowd for the noise of gun fire, leading to a general panic in the crowd.

This incident took place on 7th Avenue and 46th Street, where people were seen running, crying and calling their loved ones. Some tourists even knocked at the doors of the Richard Rodgers Theater, which led to the play To Kill A Mockingbird to halt its performance in progress.

Multiple calls were received by the NYPD regarding the false report. Around 10:20 p.m., the NYPD announced that Times Square was safe.

Actress Merle Dandridge, who was present during the incident, tweeted that she was crouched on the floor of the Shubert Theatre fearing for her life with her body shaking even after the “incident.”

After the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, where 31 people were shot dead, many New Yorkers and tourist feared the same thing could happen in Times Square. According to the police, last year 2,600 major crimes were reported in the Midtown South Precinct, which includes Times Square. In 1990, 23,000 major crimes were reported.

State Sen. Brad Holyman, whose district includes Times Square, said that normally people do not run from the sounds of a motorcycle backfiring. “I think the public is on edge, and this is the manifestation of the recent mass shootings,” Holyman said.

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