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False report of an active shooter causes ‘stampede’ at Barclays Center, Up to 18 hurt

Davis vs Romero fight in NYC Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

It’s a sign of the times.

A false report of an active shooter following a boxing match between Devonte Davis and Rolando Romero at Barclays Center caused what ESPN described as a “stampede” as fans already on the arena entrance plaza ran back into the building. The incident took place at around 1:00 a.m. Sunday. Injury reports ranged from 10 to 18 hurt, all of them reportedly minor.

The incident, of course, comes after two shootings in the past two weeks by 18-year-olds in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, that killed 31 including 17 fourth-graders in the Texas town, as well as shooting at the nearby 36th Street subway station where 10 people were shot two months ago.

CNN reported Sunday...

No shots were fired at the Barclays Center during a disturbance that sent people, including tennis star Naomi Osaka, running for their lives early Sunday, said the New York City Police Department.

“After investigating the incident at the Barclays Center this morning, we determined that no shots were fired,” the NYPD 78th Precinct, which serves the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, said in a tweet on Sunday.

The stampede was caused by an errant “sound disturbance” — not further described — outside the arena, an NYPD spokesman said. People mistook it for gunfire and even veteran boxing and basketball writer Chris Mannix believed the sound was gunshots coming from inside Barclays Center.

Boxing writer Ryan Songalia of The Ring magazine captured the scene as fans ran back inside...

Mike Coppinger, ESPN’s boxing reporter, wrote that “a Barclays Center security supervisor told ESPN there was a person with a gun in the main plaza that led to a stampede back into the arena. Multiple people transported to hospital.”

Later, Coppinger added that NYPD detective Adam Navarro told him “there was no gun whatsoever,” but apparently no was sure what the sound was that scared so many people into thinking a gun had been fired.

Stefan Bondy of the Daily News painted scenes of chaos around the arena as word spread.

Confusion added to the chaos. In the hallways of the event level by the TV trucks, an arena employee was telling people to stay put until he received an update on his walkie talkie.

Two cops then sprinted around the corner. Arena announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. told his Showtime colleague Jim Gray, “the quicker we get out of here, the better.”

Osaka, on hand for the match, recounted her experience as the incident evolved...

“I really hope everyone made it out safely, since I’m tweeting this we made it out ok.” she added in a follow-up tweet. Among others who were on hand for the fight: Madonna and her son, David Banda, who sat near ringside. Michael Strahan was also in the crowd.

Emergency vehicles were lined up at the curb along Flatbush Avenue to treat victims.

It was the first big boxing match at the arena since the pandemic began as well as the highest grossing crowd for a boxing match in arena history.