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Gabrielle Settles
By Gabrielle Settles July 6, 2022

There was no mass shooting in Harrisburg on Fourth of July, despite social media claims

If Your Time is short

  • City officials in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, reported that during an event, two juveniles got into a fight. Someone threw firecrackers on the ground, and someone shouted, "Gun!" causing a mass panic and stampede. There was no mass shooting.

On the same day that a shooter opened fire on a crowd gathered for a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, a Facebook user posted a video warning of another active shooter in Pennsylvania’s capital city.

The caption of a livestreamed video claims to show the aftermath of a mass shooting at a fireworks display in Harrisburg.

The video shows people walking along a sidewalk or gathered in groups to view the fireworks, with paper plates, bottles and other trash littering the ground. There’s no evidence that a shooting happened, so we looked into the video.

The video was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

Harrisburg Police Commissioner Thomas Carter said that a fight broke out at about 9:30 p.m. between two juveniles in the crowd, according to ABC27 News

Matt Maisel, a city spokesperson, told PolitiFact that in the midst of the fight, someone threw firecrackers on the ground, which caused people to panic. 

Someone in the crowd shouted "gun!" and attendees started to run, leaving their belongings. But the claim that there was an active shooter is categorically false, Maisel said. 

Some children were separated from their parents amid the chaos. Harrisburg Mayor Wanda Williams said in a press conference the next morning that her grandchildren had been among those who were lost in the shuffle.

The attendees that started the fight were from outside of Harrisburg, Williams said. 

"I want to assure the public that it is safe to come to the events in the city of Harrisburg," Williams said. "We will not tolerate the juveniles coming into the city of Harrisburg and causing chaos like that." 

Police officers sprayed mace to stop the fight and made one arrest, Carter said during the same press conference. He confirmed that there was no active shooter, and no injuries. 

Our ruling

A video on Facebook claimed to show the aftermath of a mass shooting in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. 

That’s not what happened. According to local officials, a fight broke out among the crowd, and someone shouted that there was a gun. This definitely caused a panic in the crowd, but there was no shooting.

We rate this video caption False.

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There was no mass shooting in Harrisburg on Fourth of July, despite social media claims

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