MIAMI BEACH, FL. (WSVN) – What started as an altercation on Ocean Drive spiraled into pandemonium Saturday night, as panicked spring breakers ran from what they thought were shots fired.
Cellphone video captured dozens of frightened revelers screaming and running for safety just before 8 p.m.
“It was like a thousand people running, so you know it was chaos,” said a witness.
The stampeding crowd ran down Ocean Drive, knocking over tables at nearby restaurants.
“It was horrible because people were falling and jumping,” said the witness. “The restaurants were closing. It was horrible.”
“My first thought was to go up into the hotels, like on one of the floors or something, ’cause I didn’t want to go outside,” said visitor Nadia Butterfield. “They were flipping tables over and all that type of stuff.”
“You can see the table and silverware and plates all scattered about the sidewalk. It’s absolute mayhem,” said Mitch Novick, who shot the cellphone video.
According to Miami Beach Police, the fight broke out at Fifth Street and Ocean Drive. During the scuffle, someone threw a bottle up in the air, and when it came down, it led to rumors of shots fired, which caused major safety concerns.
The bottle struck a police officer in the arm. He was checked out and released.
There were no other injuries reported.
The frenzy led police to shut down the eastbound lanes of the MacArthur Causeway.
Novick said madness like this has become the norm. “This was the third one in the last 48 hours. I’ve seen stampedes before,” he said.
After a quick investigation, police found no signs of bullets flying, and South Beach went back to normal.
“Miami is a dope town. Everybody wants to come, so you have to make sure that people are safe,” said the witness.
Police shut down Ocean Drive on Sunday between Fifth and 10th streets as part of the department’s safety protocol during spring break.
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