Santa Clara, California police say “no shots were fired” at Great America despite multiple unconfirmed reports on Twitter of a possible shooting or active shooter at the amusement park. Videos, which you can see throughout this article, captured the panic at the scene.
Police later added: “A strong-arm robbery occurred in the theme park. In the confusion, it was believed shots had been fired; NO SHOTS WERE FIRED. The suspect(s) remain at large.”
The theme park revealed in a late-night statement that reports of gunfire were “unsubstantiated” and disruptive teenagers were ejected from the facility.
Santa Clara police wrote on Twitter that the active shooter reports are false, as panicked people took to social media to express fear. Police did confirm that they had responded to the park after active shooter reports but say they then discovered no gunfire had occurred. Here’s the police statement:
“POLICE ACTIVITY – 10/26/19 at 10:45pm
@SantaClaraPD is on scene at California’s Great America theme park on the report of an active shooter, however NO SHOTS WERE FIRED.
CHP has opened counterflow for an expedited event egress.”
California’s Great America wrote in a statement, “There were unsubstantiated reports of a gunshot at the park. Park authorities and on-property police officers worked together to quickly respond to confirm guest safety, and to eject a group of disruptive teenagers from the park. The park has returned to normal operation.” The theme park then added, “The safety and security of our guests and associates is our highest priority.”
Police have not provided additional details as the situation was very fluid. People’s panic turned to anger on social media as word spread that police say there were no shots fired. Some people said they heard that someone had shouted that there was a shooting, but this might have stemmed from the false panic. Other people wrote that they ended up in a stampede or had panic attacks. One person wrote to both the theme park and police on Twitter: “My sisters in law are there. They all said they heard gun shots. All of them heard it!”
“Whoever shouted that there was an a shooting at Great America when there wasnt, I hope Karma gets your as*. Who in the f*ck would shout that in the current state of things regarding shootings. Literally f*ck you,” wrote another person on Twitter.
“The guys who caused this mass hysteria at Great America should be tracked down and charged. FTR, I didn’t hear any gunshots. I just ran so as not to become roadkill,” wrote another.
It’s fairly common for active shooter reports in the early stages to end up false alarms. For example, in many instances, shopping mall panics end up no shooting at all. In the case of Great America, authorities have not clarified what caused people to believe an active shooter situation was unfolding. However, it was clear that something was happening at Great America because of the sudden flurry of social media reports that broke out around 10:30 p.m. on October 26, 2019. People have also posted photos and videos from the scene on social media.
Reports on Twitter indicated people were running in panic. Since police now say no shots were fired, the social media flurry is a testament to how quickly fear can spread, as well as false reports, in a world where every panicked person has a cell phone at their fingertips. (It was a night of big news; at roughly the same time the Great America reports flooded Twitter, reports broke in Newsweek and ABC News that the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has been possibly killed after a U.S. mission. You can read more about that separate news story here.)
In California, at Great America, it was a frightening night.
“everyone in great america just started sprinting and jumping fences people were saying people were shooting,” wrote one Twitter user. “Just got a call from my kid – shooting at #greatamerica #halloweenhaunt #frightnight,” wrote another.
“@KTVU we are at Great America in Santa Clara, CA. There is an active shooter,” another wrote, directing the comment to a television station. “Aye if you know anyone in Great America in Santa Clara, California check on them immediately. There was a shooting,” another Twitter user indicated. Be forewarned that some of the language in tweets is graphic as frightened people took to social media.
You can listen to the live scanner for Santa Clara police and fire here.
The amusement park calls itself “California’s Great America.” You can see its website here. The website for nearby San Jose, California describes the attraction as “Fill your day with roller coasters, live shows, concerts, fireworks, amusement park food favorites and even a water park at the iconic California’s Great America. Thrills for every age are ready to rock your world and run you ragged.”
This video described helicopters, “chaos,” and police at the scene.
Here’s what you need to know:
People Reported ‘Hordes of People’ Running Toward the Great America Entrance
Here’s a sampling of what some of the other reports on Twitter said:
“my location. just moved frim my hiding spot and am hiding again. this is where the original commotion was. someone had a gun- heard this from a cop+GA staff. panic #greatamerica.”
“Was in law with Cartmen for a ride and we just see hordes of people running out towards the entrance. Supposed shooting at Great America, everyone be safe.”
“not even 5 min into great america and there’s a shooting smh.”
“Exit the park. copters and great america security is on it. they are armed. follow directions that park workers are giving you and stay safe.”
“Praying for the safety of everyone at Great America right now ??”
“Get out of great America!!!! Get out safe!!!”
“If some kids really screamed shooter to send everyone at great america into a panic hope they rot in hell.”
This post is being update as more information is learned about the active shooter reports.
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