Chaos erupts in Coney after false reports of gunshots

Pandemonium erupted in Coney Island Sunday when someone threw a glass bottle and amusement parkgoers mistook the sound for gunshots, according to police. A wave of panic swept the crowd and even those who didn’t hear the supposed gunfire began running for their lives.

“I honestly didn’t hear much, but I saw everybody running away and I didn’t want to stick around and find out why,” said Coney Islander Joaquin Marshall, who was out with friends when the confusion ensued. “People were tripping all over themselves trying to get out of there. I thought it must be gunshots.”

A panicked stampede of friends and family formerly enjoying their Easter Sunday at the People’s Playground poured out of Luna Park and fled Surf Avenue.

Locals trampled each other as they dashed down the thoroughfare, parents scooped up their children as they ran, and people raced into restaurants to escape what they thought was a shooting.

One Surf Avenue eatery even lowered its metal gate to protect its patrons.

“We closed the gate to protect people,” said Bensonhurster Elez Bucaj, who owns the Surf City restaurant on Surf Avenue at W. 10th Street near the Cyclone. “People were running and screaming that they heard shooting.”

But the fears were unfounded and police quashed the frenzy on social media.

“All reports of any shooting by the amusement area in Coney Island are false,” stated a tweet by the 60th Precinct’s twitter account. “There were no shots fired or anyone shot.”

The incident comes just two days after Amtrak police in Penn Station used a stun gun on a man — sending commuters scrambling for safety after they mistook the sound for gunfire.

A police investigation is ongoing, officials said.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.