SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — Santa Clara police offered new details on a robbery inside California’s Great America amusement park on Saturday which led to a panic when people mistakenly believed an active shooter had opened fire inside the park.
The incident happened about 10:30 p.m. during Great America’s Halloween Haunt event. Dispatchers began receiving calls about a shooting inside the park. However, responding officers determined a strong-arm robbery had occurred, followed by a fight, and then someone screamed there was an active shooter, police said.
As soon as the commotion happened, unconfirmed reports referring to an active shooter flooded social media channels. At the same time, police dispatchers fielded more than 200 calls about the incident, police said.
The resulting chaos turned into a mass exodus from the park as thousands of guests fled what many believed to be an active shooter situation.
Officers determined the robbery victim had minor injuries but had not been shot. No person with a gun was ever located and there was no evidence of shots fired, police said. The victim had about $420 worth of personal property stolen, according to police.
In a statement, the Santa Clara Police Department urged people not to report crimes on social media. “In this situation, social media was the conduit for misinformation and unnecessarily drained Police and Fire Department resources,” the statement said.
The statement did remind people to remain aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity or circumstances.