Gay persons were reported to have taken to flight at the sound of gun cracking. A man is due to appear in court after allegedly causing a stampede at a gay pride parade in the US which left seven people needing hospital treatment.
The man, named in US media as 38-year-old Aftabjit Singh, allegedly waved a BB gun, which fires small metal ball projectiles, in the capital Washington on Saturday.
A number of people reported hearing gunshots before the crowd fled.
However, officials maintain there is no evidence that shots were fired.
A police report – cited by the Associated Press news agency – said the man took the weapon out after noticing someone “hitting his significant other”.
He has been charged with illegal possession of a BB gun, carrying a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct. He is due in court on today.
Some eyewitnesses said the sound might have been that of metal barriers being knocked over.
The seven people taken to hospital had non-life-threatening injuries which they suffered during the panic, police said.
In a statement on Twitter, parade organizers’ Capital Pride said all of their events would continue “with safety precautions in place”.
Gay pride is celebrated around the world in June, with some parades organized on or around 28 June, the anniversary of a police raid on the Stonewall Inn gay bar in New York City.
During the raid, in 1969, the bar’s patrons fought back and inspired the modern LGBT rights movement.