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16 injured at NYC’s Penn Station after false reports of gunfire results in panic

Authorities: Hysteria was the result of Amtrak police officer firing stun gun on a man

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At least 16 people injured after false reports of gunfire led to mass hysteria with commuters stampeding for the exits, others ducking for cover inside New York City’s Penn Station Friday night.

The chaotic scene erupted at around 6:30 p.m. as a stampede of people went frantically running, some dropping their luggage and several others falling to the ground.

Babylon residents John and Patti Louden, who were in Manhattan celebrating their 27th wedding anniversary, saw some of the heightened police presence that resulted from the panic.

“It's a little scary. Just because of what goes on in the world nowadays. We were a little nervous, so we did wait,” said Patti Louden

“We saw a strategic response unit from the NYPD and counterterrorism units, as well. And they were looking for something to take care of,” said John Louden

The hysteria and confusion was the result of an Amtrak police officer using a stun gun on a man inside the station. That action, investigators say, led to dozens of reports of shots fired.

“As officers responded we learned that Amtrak police deployed a Taser, the likely source of the sound and the ensuing 911 calls,” said NYPD Chief Bill Morris.

Authorities determined that no gunfire had gone off, and the all clear was given shortly after 7 o'clock. As it turns out, both the FDNY and the NYPD were already at Penn Station because of a disabled New Jersey Transit train that had about 1,200 passengers on board.

In total,16 people were treated for non-life threatening injuries as a result of the panic.

“We deployed with law enforcement just to take care of any patients that were injured,” said FDNY Division One Deputy Chief Tom Currao.

At this point it's unclear why that Amtrak police officer deployed a stun gun, though authorities say the suspect it was deployed on has been taken into custody.

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