MIAMI (WSVN) - Police have determined that there is no evidence that gunshots were fired after initial reports of gunfire caused panic and an evacuation after the Fourth of July fireworks show at Bayside.
According to witnesses, rain started to come down at around 9:30 p.m., shortly after the fireworks show had ended. Moments later, they said, they heard multiple gunshots.
However, according to Miami Police, it appears that it may have been a false alarm. “Right now, there were no casings found, there were no people injured due to gunshots, so we suspect that it was very likely a firecracker because even to the trained ear, it’s hard to differentiate one from the other,” said Miami Officer Rene Pimentel. “There was an after action report done, and it looks like there was nothing else, just a scare.”
A Miami Fire Rescue official described the chaotic scene as people took off running. “We had numerous injuries as a result of people trampling on one another,” said Miami Fire Rescue Captain Ignatius Carroll. “We had people that were not only running into the streets trying to get away, but we also had people who jumped into water trying to hide behind pillars in the water, behind boats,”
Carroll said that several people, including children were injured when they tried to run away. “Some of those injuries were people that had leg injuries, some sustained some facial traumas and cuts,” he said.
At least five people had to go to the hospital. A young boy also sustained a serious injury to his leg.
Despite officials giving the all clear, witnesses said they assumed the worst. “The thing that happened last night with the fireworks and everybody thought it was gunshots … no one was wrong,” said Marshall Deonte.
Christine Casale said that events around the world have caused her to be extra careful. “There’s a sense of just being cautious,” she said.
“Yes, I think everyone is on a state of alert and a little bit panicky,” said Andres Dehiet.
Witnesses took to social media to tweet out video of people running. They described an active shooter situation and a heavy police presence.
A woman who came to Bayside with her children told 7News she heard multiple gunshots. “We were all coming out of Victoria’s Secret, and all I heard was ‘boom, boom, boom,'” she said. “They told everybody to get out. When we came down, it just all exploded.”
The woman then took her family into another store. “The police were telling us to try to run, so I took the kids and ran inside of the Crocs shoe store,” she said. “When we got inside of the Crocs shoe store, we heard the ‘boom, boom, boom’ again.”
The woman said she then ran into a family member. “I have a brother that works here, so my concern was looking for him, and when we just saw him, he was like, ‘Get out here, just get out of here,'” she said as her young daughter started to cry.
Police detained one person with a firearm, Raymond Toranzo. “There’s people saying, ‘Shooting, shooting, shooting.’ I have a bunch of officers around me with their guns drawn at me, and they’re telling me, ‘Get down on the ground! Get down on the ground!'” he said.
Toranzo was later released and police said he was not involved. He has a license to carry a weapon. “One of them came up to me, grabbed my pistol from my right side, he grabbed it and kind of tossed it on to the ground,” he said. “They took me to a police car, put me in the back, they looked at my firearm, made sure it wasn’t stolen or anything like that. They had to do what they had to do. They didn’t know if I was a friendly or if I was a bad guy.”
They also tweeted that the shots had been fired outside the shopping complex, along Biscayne Boulevard.
Two children who had been reported missing were later recovered.
Although there were no life-threatening injuries, for many, this July 4th will be remembered more for the fear than the fireworks.
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