London Police Find No Sign of Shooting After Oxford Street Panic

(Bloomberg) -- Panic briefly struck one of London’s busiest shopping areas on Friday after reports of shooting led to the shutdown of Oxford Circus underground station. Police later said no evidence of gunfire could be found.

Armed police rushed to London’s emblematic Oxford Street on Black Friday after reports of “shots fired.” Fire engines rushed to the scene and shoppers were told to seek shelter, with people barricaded into shops and cafes. 

London is used to living under the specter of potential terrorism after a series of atrocities this year. Police at first said they were treating it “as if the incident is terrorist related,” but it appears to have been a false alarm. One person was injured fleeing the station, police said.

“At this stage, we have received one report of a woman sustaining a minor injury when leaving Oxford Circus station,” British Transport Police tweeted. “There are no other reported casualties.”

The U.K.’s terrorism threat level is currently at “severe,” the second-highest level on a five-step scale. It was briefly at the highest level, “critical” in September after a bomb partially detonated on a subway train in London, and in May, following the bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester that killed 23 people.

“At 16:38 on Friday, 24 November, police started to receive numerous 999 calls within a short space of time reporting shots fired in a number of locations on Oxford Street and at Oxford Circus underground station,” The Metropolitan Police said in a statement. “Given the nature of the information received, the Met responded in line with our existing operation as if the incident was terrorism, including the deployment of armed officers.”

“No causalities, evidence of any shots fired or any suspects were located by police,” the statement said.

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