Three people were injured at a San Francisco performance of “Hamilton” on Friday night after audience members panicked, thinking that a mass shooting was taking place.
The San Francisco Fire Department tweeted that the chaos was sparked by an alarm that went off inside the Orpheum Theatre; it was triggered by emergency personnel using a defibrillator when an audience member had a medical emergency. At around the same time, sound effects of gunfire rang out as part of the performance during a scene depicting a duel, local news station WFLA reported.
Panic ensued after audience members mistakenly believed the events were connected and that a real shooter was in the building. Numerous audience members tweeted that people were screaming and running to exit the theater and that shouts of “gun” could be heard, according to BuzzFeed.
The fire department characterized the scene on Twitter as “confusion, and an un-organized rapid exit of the theater.”
“It was pretty terrifying to witness,” CBS Sacramento reporter Shirin Rajaee, who was in the audience, told CBS San Francisco.
The panic-driven exodus led to two people having “moderate injuries” and a third suffering a broken leg. All three were taken to local hospitals, the fire department said on Twitter, noting that the person suffering the original emergency was also at a local hospital and in critical condition as of Friday night.
Multiple outlets reported that though many audience members returned to the theater after the situation calmed down, the remainder of the show was canceled.