rain.png
Thursday February 20th, 2020 11:42AM

Police: Security officer's gunshot warning caused stampede

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CHICAGO (AP) — A stampede at a Fourth of July fireworks display that injured more than a dozen people at Chicago's Navy Pier started when a private security officer shouted for bystanders to take cover, police said Friday.

Chicago police spokeswoman Kellie Bartoli said "approximately 13" people who fell or were trampled during the ruckus were hospitalized with minor injuries. The rush of people occurred shortly after a brawl that resulted in at least two stabbings.

The incidents happened just after 10 p.m. as thousands crowded Navy Pier on Lake Michigan's shoreline. Police said they were searching Friday for two male suspects in the stabbings.

Authorities speculate that shortly after the stabbings, someone exploded a firecracker near a group of people, prompting shouts of "gun" or "shots fired." Chief of Patrol Fred Waller told a news conference Friday that the ensuring panic was fueled by warnings to bystanders to take cover shouted by a member of a private security firm employed by Navy Pier.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that despite the fracas, the officer's warning was appropriate.

"If you're going to make an error in judgment, we want to err on the side of caution," Johnson said. "Suppose there had been an active shooter, and he had said nothing?"

Chicago police tactical and SWAT teams that provided the main security for the fireworks show, backed by covert state and federal law enforcement officers, responded by searching the area but found no gunman.

The private security firm was not identified and Navy Pier officials did not respond to a request for comment, but issued a statement that said Thursday's "unfortunate isolated incident" was quickly managed by security teams and law enforcement officers.

"We are continuing to work with the Chicago Police Department on this matter and to ensure that we are doing all that we can to keep people safe while they are visiting the pier," the statement said.

In the earlier incident, authorities said teens allegedly flashing gang signs began fighting, with a 14-year-old boy being stabbed in the arm and rib area and a 15-year-old boy stabbed in the armpit. Both were transported to Lurie Children's Hospital and were reported in stable condition.

A 30-year-old man not involved in that altercation suffered stab wounds to the face and arm but said he did not see the offender nor did he remember any details about the incident, Bartoli said. He was at Northwestern University Hospital in stable condition.

Also, police said a 16-year-old boy, initially thought to have been stabbed, sustained a puncture wound to his leg after running into a table.

Those who were injured while running or falling in the commotion were taken to hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, said another police spokesman, Rocco Alioto.

Rachel Schar, who's a server at the waterfront restaurant Harry Caray's Tavern, said that during the ensuing panic, crowds of visitors swarmed the restaurant for at least 10 minutes to escape what they believed was an active shooter.

"It was pure chaos," the 22-year-old told the Chicago Tribune. "I literally thought I was going to die."

Schar said she was collecting credit cards from a party table when she heard screaming, shoes rapidly pounding the pavement, and shouts about a gun and people stabbed outside. She said she was tackled during that pandemonium and then sprinted upstairs into an office.

Elsewhere in the city, the typically violent July Fourth holiday had already seen 35 people shot, five fatally, with three days to go in the weekend. Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who took office in May and has made curbing gun violence a priority, followed recent years' practice by adding an extra 1,500 police officers onto the streets. Messages left with her press office Friday were not immediately returned.

In 2017, when Independence Day fell on a Tuesday, more than 100 people were shot and at least 15 died. In 2014, when the holiday was a Friday, 82 were shot and at least 14 died.

Johnson said his staff monitors crime statistics hourly and said this year's numbers "are up a little bit, but let's let the rest of the weekend play out."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Business
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US to pursue citizenship question on census but path unclear
The Justice Department says it will continue to look for legal grounds to force the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census
5:07PM ( 2 minutes ago )
Police: Security officer's gunshot warning caused stampede
Police say a stampede at a Fourth of July fireworks display that injured more than a dozen people at Chicago's Navy Pier started when a private security officer shouted for bystanders to take cover.
5:01PM ( 8 minutes ago )
W.Va. coal billionaire Cline killed in helicopter crash
The attorney's office representing West Virginia billionaire coal entrepreneur Chris Cline has confirmed that he was killed in a helicopter crash along with his daughter and five other U.S. citizens
5:00PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Utah police say body of slain college student recovered
Police say the body of a slain college student has been recovered in a Utah canyon about 85 miles away from a backyard in Salt Lake City where other remains were found last week
4:19PM ( 50 minutes ago )
Coco Gauff, 15, avoids 2 match points in Centre Court win
15-year-old American Coco Gauff came back after facing two match points and beat Polona Hercog in three sets to reach the fourth round of Wimbledon
4:16PM ( 53 minutes ago )
Maduro shows military might in Independence Day celebration
Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro is overseeing a grand military parade celebrating Independence Day as the embattled socialist leader comes under mounting criticism for using brutal tactics to crush his opponents
3:22PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Bahamas police were told billionaire Cline was on helicopter
Police in the Bahamas worked Friday to identify the bodies of seven Americans killed in a helicopter crash after being told that billionaire coal tycoon and Republican donor Chris Cline was among those on board
1:43PM ( 3 hours ago )
Trump weighs executive order to add census citizenship query
President Donald Trump says he is considering an executive order to try to force the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census
1:13PM ( 3 hours ago )
Biden says having a female vice president would be 'great'
Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden says it would be 'great' to have a female vice president, but he won't say whether he'd pick Sen. Kamala Harris for the No. 2 spot if he received his party's nomination
12:37PM ( 4 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
US stocks head lower as jobs surge dims hopes for a rate cut
U.S. stocks are edging lower and bond yields are up as Wall Street closes in on a downbeat finish to an otherwise solid week of gains for the broader market
3:29PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump pick for Fed says she does not want to harm investors
Judy Shelton, Trump pick for Fed board, says she does not want to tighten credit and harm ordinary investors
3:15PM ( 1 hour ago )
2020 Democrats see opportunity on foreign policy
Some of the leading Democrats in the 2020 presidential contest are working to strengthen their foreign policy bona fides
2:44PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
US to pursue citizenship question on census but path unclear
The Justice Department says it will continue to look for legal grounds to force the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census
5:07PM ( 2 minutes ago )
W.Va. coal billionaire Cline killed in helicopter crash
The attorney's office representing West Virginia billionaire coal entrepreneur Chris Cline has confirmed that he was killed in a helicopter crash along with his daughter and five other U.S. citizens
5:00PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Migrant child drawings depict jail-like scenes of detention
The American Academy of Pediatrics has released photographs of drawings made by migrant children who were asked to depict their time spent in Border Patrol custody.
4:58PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Armed Utah teachers practice responding to school shootings
Teachers in Utah are spending some of their summer learning how to care for wounds and shoot guns as part of a voluntary training held by police to prepare educators for an active shooter in their schools
4:48PM ( 21 minutes ago )
The best ever? Jones, Nunes could make cases at UFC 239
UFC 239 provides an opportunity to watch the two most dominant fighters in mixed martial arts on the same night
4:46PM ( 23 minutes ago )