Police say one arrest has been made and one citation has been isssued regarding an incident that occured on the Ben Franklin Parkway during the Welcome America Festival on the Fourth of July.
Police originally indicated that BB gunshots that triggered a large group of people to run down the parkway in what some have called a chaotic stampede.
While no serious injuries have been confirmed, one 18 year-old female was reportedly transported to Hanemann hospital and one three month-old was taken to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia with injuries from being trampled during the incident.
Despite numerous rumors of a shooting, Mayor Nutter's spokesman Mark McDonald says police officers on the scene found no evidence of any gunshots being fired and called the event a success.
"After years of continuous improvement in event planning, the Philadelphia Police Department has detailed institutional knowledge of how to manage large events in the city. WaWa Welcome America was an overwhelming success," McDonald said.
The Philadelphia Police Department made only one modification to its safety measures for large events; having its officers wear safety vests.
With regards to how the incident at the Welcome America Festival will change the City's approach to safety issues at the upcoming Made in America Festival, McDonald says the two events are very different.
"Made in America is a very much smaller, self-contained event that was a complete success last year. As it did last year, the Police Department will provide external security around Made in America as well as presence inside and will work with event organizers who will have substantial security just as it did last year," he said.
The Welcome America Festival is no stranger to shooting scares. A similar incident occurred in 2011 when loud popping noises believed to be gunshots caused hundreds of people to run down the parkway. Police later found no evidence of gunshots and only one person was reportedly injured.
Robert Quartucci, 54, who was attending the festival for the first time in seven years said he and a friend were standing on the parkway near 21st street taping footage of the fireworks finale when a large group of people came running in their direction.
“I saw just masses of people running towards us in sheer panic. There were people screaming, people crying, my friend was shaking like a leaf,” Quartucci said.
“If you were in the middle of the Parkway there was a good chance that you could have been trampled. I mean afterward we saw people’s bags and people’s shoes; it looked like people just left everything where they were and took off running. For people with kids it had to be terrible. It was just a scary experience.”
Confusion over what exactly caused the incident led some people to NBC10's Facebook page to share their experiences.
Frank Weindel wrote: “I was walking on the 2200 block of the parkway alongside Park Towne Place Apartments when a rush of panicked people started running away from the parkway. It was scary to say the least, some people tripped, dropped belongings, and lost touch with friends/family. It was like a scene out of a movie.”
Gerard Nolan wrote: “It was definitely a stampede. I was absolutely terrified because of the crowd, but more so because I didn't know what we were running from. After about 30 seconds of running, the crowd seemed to calm down. We just left at that point, totally spooked, and we didn't care that we missed the grand finale. We just wanted to go home.”