UPDATE 1 – False alarm causes mass panic on London’s Oxford Street

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Panic erupted on Oxford Street in central London after multiple reports of shots being fired, but no evidence of a shooting was found, witnesses and local officials say. One woman suffered minor injuries while fleeing from the scene.

The incident began at about 4:37 p.m. local time on Friday when officers were called to multiple reports of shots being fired on Oxford Street and the Oxford Circus tube station. An unidentified sound may have been mistaken for gunfire.

Witnesses in the area described panic as word spread about a shooting, causing fears of a terrorist attack. Footage from the scene showed people screaming as they ran from the scene. A large number of emergency services, including heavily-armed police officers, responded to the incident.

The Metropolitan Police Service, which is also known as Scotland Yard, said they treated the incident as a possible terrorist attack until they knew otherwise. Stores on Oxford Street, which is Europe’s busiest shopping street, were put on lockdown as officers searched the area.

“To date police have not located any trace of any suspects, evidence of shots fired or causalities,” police said in an update at 4:40 p.m. British Transport Police said a woman sustained a minor injury while fleeing from the Oxford Circus subway station, which was later reopened to the public.

“Our response on Oxford Street has now been stood down. If you sought shelter in a building please now leave, and follow the direction of police officers on the ground if you need assistance,” Scotland Yard said. The investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing.

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