International News

Panic on London’s Oxford Street after reports of shooting

Panic erupted among Christmas shopping crowds on London’s Oxford Street on Friday evening as armed officers raced to respond to reports of shots being fired in the area but police said later they had found no evidence of gunfire or casualties.
“The first armed response vehicle was on the scene in less than one minute from receiving our first call,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
Oxford Street — with its festive window displays and hundreds of overhead lights — was crammed with shoppers taking advantage of the Black Friday sales when the incident happened shortly after dusk.
London’s Metropolitan Police added that they had found no evidence of gunfire, casualties or any suspects and that the incident — which lasted for just over an hour — had been stood down.
“Given the nature of the information received, the Met responded in line with our existing operation as if the incident was terrorism, including the deployment of armed officers,” they said in the statement.
A Reuters witness said panicked shoppers had fled Oxford Street and Oxford Circus underground station.
The witness saw an elderly lady and a man carrying his child knocked over in the rush.
“There were people running in all directions. I didn’t know which way to run,” the witness said.
London Fire Brigade was also present on the scene, with “three fire engines & 15 firefighters are in attendance”.
Britain’s transport police said they had received a report of one woman suffering a minor injury in the panic.
Transport for London — the capital’s transport operator — said Oxford Circus and Bond Street stations, which had been briefly shut due to the incident, had later reopened.