Monday 11 December 2017
 
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Reports of gunfire sparks panic on London's Oxford Street

LONDON, 16 days ago

Thousands of shoppers fled in panic as armed police swooped on London's Oxford Street and Oxford Circus Tube station after receiving reports that shots had been fired.
 
People were seen taking shelter in nearby buildings and holding each other as police descended on the area to respond to the reports.
 
The panic erupted on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, in a jittery city that has been hit by four violent attacks this year, reported Sky News.
 
The area, full of big-name chain shops and department stores, was packed with shoppers browsing Black Friday sales.
 
Amid reports of several shots being fired, commuters and shoppers ran from Oxford Circus station and took shelter in nearby stores, stated the report.
 
“I was next to the Tube station and everyone started screaming and shouting and then a flood of people came up the stairs,” said Greg Owen, 37.
 
Police said they were responding “as if the incident is terrorist related,” sending armed officers to the scene, cordoning off several blocks and telling people to avoid the area.
 
Crowds of people poured out of Selfridges department store, all Underground trains were stopped in the area, traffic was blocked and officers locked people inside shops.
 
The alarm was raised shortly after 4.30pm. It was an hour-and-a-half before Met Police gave the all-clear.
 
During that time, armed officers searched Oxford Circus Tube station, Selfridges and other shops.
 
The incident at the busy Oxford Circus area here today that sparked a "mass evacuation" and left 16 people injured was caused by an "altercation" between two men, police said, ruling out a terror attack, said media reports citing police officials. 
 
The Oxford Circus area, one of the busiest shopping zones in the heart of the city, was placed under temporary lockdown after police received reports of shots being fired. 
 
Police have released images of two men they want to speak to over the incident, reported ABC News.
 
However, Scotland Yard later released CCTV images, saying an altercation between two men led to the chaos in the area.
 
A statement from British Transport Police said: "Officers believe an altercation erupted between two men on the platform."
 
They are appealing for information from anyone who may have seen the row in Oxford Circus Tube station.
 
The incident sparked rumours and false reports of shots fired in Selfridges, a gang fight on the Tube and of a lorry surrounded by police with blood on the pavement - none of these have proved to be true so far, said the report.
 
One person was transferred to a major trauma centre for leg injuries, while eight people were taken to central London hospitals for minor injuries. Another seven patients were treated at the scene.
 
The London Ambulance Service said the injuries were sustained as passengers fled from Oxford Circus Tube station, in what witnesses said was “a stampede”, it added.



Tags: London | gunfire | stampede | Panic | Oxford Street |

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