Metropolitan Police were on high alert this afternoon after reports of shots fired near Oxford Street in London’s iconic shopping district.
London authorities received multiple reports of shots fired at 4:38 p.m. local time in and around Oxford Street and Oxford Circus underground train station. Officers responded to the reports as though it were a terrorist incident, which meant a heavily armed police presence.
Crowds of people were seen running away from the underground station on Oxford Street, which were captured on cellphone video.
Oxford Street typically sees heavy foot traffic along streets lined with shops and stores but was especially crowded due to Black Friday sales.
Oxford Circus station was completely evacuated following reports, and police had cordoned off a large area with checkpoints and officers armed with assault rifles. People took shelter in nearby buildings expecting a terrorist attack.
However, it seems this may have been a false alarm. There have been no reported casualties, and the only injury reported was from the British Transport Police regarding a woman who was trampled during the stampede to flee the area. She is reported to have received minor injuries.
“Some cordons remain in place and additional officers remain on duty in the West End to reassure the public. We thank the public for their patience and assistance during our response,” London police said in a statement.
At this time the source of the incident is unclear. Police are continuing to investigate the disturbance.
London is a city on high alert after a string of high profile terrorist attacks this year. Just last September, an improvised explosive device was detonated on a London Underground commuter train, injuring 25 people.
In June, a man drove a van into a group of pedestrians leaving a mosque after completing Ramadan prayers, killing one and injuring eleven others. Police were able to arrest Darren Osborne of Cardiff Wales in connection with the attack.
Earlier in June, three men drove a van into pedestrians walking along London Bridge and then proceeded to go on a stabbing spree at nearby Borough Market. The attack killed eight and injured 40 more before the killers were shot dead by police.
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