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Transit police incident sparks panic at Penn Station

Penn Station dissolved into chaos after a Taser

Penn Station dissolved into chaos after a Taser incident sent a massive crowd running for the exits Friday, April 14, 2017. Credit: Michael Clark

A Taser incident at Penn Station caused chaos at the terminal Friday night after police received false reports of shots being fired, according to officials and social media accounts.

A man was subdued by Amtrak police with a Taser inside the station and is now in police custody, Amtrak said in an emailed statement.Amtrak did not comment on why the man was subdued.

At around 6:30 p.m., the NYPD received numerous calls of shots fired in and around Penn Station, NYPD Chief of Manhattan South Bill Morris said in an evening news conference. Morris confirmed that the noise had come from the deployment of a Taser by Amtrak police: “There were no actual shots fired.”

The NYPD said the station was deemed safe again at 7:10 p.m.

Reports of a panic at the terminal quickly surfaced on social media, with one tweeted video showing people running and screaming at Penn Station, and others crouching and huddling together on the floor.

Michael Clark, 37, was inside Penn Station when he heard what he described as a fizzling sound akin to a sparkler, followed by a “massive stampede.”

“This pack of people ran out to the street,” Clark said, adding that he and everyone around him abandoned their luggage in the station.

Sixteen people were injured as they tried to leave the station, FDNY Deputy Chief Tom Currao said during the news conference.

Erik McIntyre said he was waiting in the Amtrak area of Penn Station when a man bumped into him as he attempted to flee from Amtrak officers. The man pushed one of the officers and two more officers attempted to restrain him, according to McIntyre.

“He kept fighting back as the officers attempted to stop him,” McIntyre said in an emailed interview. “At one point they got pushed up against a pillar and that’s when the crowd noticed something was happening.”

The station was not evacuated and remains open, Amtrak said.


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