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'Gunshots fired' at Oxford Circus as shoppers flee



  • Teams of armed police stormed Oxford Street near Oxford Circus station today
  • There were fears of a terror attack or gang violence amid reports of shooting
  • Shops locked staff and customers inside as police ordered everyone indoors 
  • There were stampedes of shoppers away from the busy street around 5pm 
  • But police have now said they have no evidence of shots having been fired
  • A woman was injured leaving Oxford Circus but there were no other casualties  

By Stewart Paterson For Mailonline

Published: 11:56 EST, 24 November 2017 | Updated: 13:17 EST, 24 November 2017

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Police have found no evidence of shots having been fired, no suspects and no serious casualties after panic on Oxford Street late this afternoon.

People ran and screamed from Britain's most famous shopping street on one of its busiest days of the year as teams of armed officers moved in to close down Oxford Circus tube station.

The panic was started after gunfire was reportedly heard in or around the Underground station around 5pm today - but police have yet to find any source of gunshots.

A large section of Oxford Street was locked down at the height of the scare, but much of the area has now been reopened.

MailOnline journalist Keiligh Baker, who was walking towards Carnaby Street from when the incident unfolded, said: 'Lots of armed police arrived and stormed Oxford Street. They were shouting 'move, move, move!'.

'Then the uniformed officers started shouting 'go, go, go'. People were sprinting and screaming.'

An armed police officer at Oxford Street in central London today after reports of gunfire
An armed police officer at Oxford Street in central London today after reports of gunfire

An armed police officer at Oxford Street in central London today after reports of gunfire

Teams of armed officers stormed the station but say they have found on evidence of gunfire 
Teams of armed officers stormed the station but say they have found on evidence of gunfire 

Teams of armed officers stormed the station but say they have found on evidence of gunfire 

Panicked shoppers locked themselves in shops at the height of the scare late this afternoon 
Panicked shoppers locked themselves in shops at the height of the scare late this afternoon 

Panicked shoppers locked themselves in shops at the height of the scare late this afternoon 

Police flooded the area after the reports came in, but no serious casualties have been found 
Police flooded the area after the reports came in, but no serious casualties have been found 

Police flooded the area after the reports came in, but no serious casualties have been found 

Ms Baker added: 'We ran along Oxford Street and there were lots of shops with people in them, some were locked, some were still letting people in.'

Another witness Ryan Smith who was working in a building on the corner of Great Titchfield Street and Oxford Street, said: 'It seemed as if there were thousands of people running past the building. One girl who ran into the building said she heard several bangs, she was very shook up. 

'It was just like a stampede – there were thousands of people running down the street. They started flocking into the building.

'And then I have come up and I have gone to the window and then it was calm for a second. Then people started running into shops.'

But after people ran through neighbouring streets and locked themselves in basements, police played down the incident which appeared to have sparked the panic.

A police statement released at 5:40pm stated: 'To date police have not located any trace of any suspects, evidence of shots fired or causalities. Officers continue to work with colleagues from British Transport Police in the area of Oxford Circus.

'Updates will be provided as soon as we have them.

'If you are in building stay in a building, if you are on the street in Oxford Street leave the area. Officers are continuing to search the area.'

British Transport Police said they have received one report of a woman sustaining a minor injury when leaving Oxford Circus station, but there are no other reported casualties. 

Armed police have been dispatched to Oxford Circus following reports of gunshots. Shoppers have been warned to stay indoors
Armed police have been dispatched to Oxford Circus following reports of gunshots. Shoppers have been warned to stay indoors

Armed police have been dispatched to Oxford Circus following reports of gunshots. Shoppers have been warned to stay indoors

One witness who was in Zara on Oxford Street told MailOnline that a man with a gun walked in and 'everyone was screaming' and they were led out of the store
One witness who was in Zara on Oxford Street told MailOnline that a man with a gun walked in and 'everyone was screaming' and they were led out of the store

One witness who was in Zara on Oxford Street told MailOnline that a man with a gun walked in and 'everyone was screaming' and they were led out of the store

At 6.08pm, Scotland Yard put out another statement saying: 'The Met response on Oxford Street has now been stood down.

'If you sought shelter in a building please now leave and follow the direction of police officers on the ground if you need assistance.

'At 16:38hrs on Friday, 24 November police started to receive numerous 999 calls within a short space of time reporting shots fired in a number of locations on Oxford Street and at Oxford Circus underground station.

'Given the nature of the information received, the Met responded in line with our existing operation as if the incident was terrorism, including the deployment of armed officers.

'Officers working with colleagues from British Transport Police carried out an urgent search of the area. No causalities, evidence of any shots fired or any suspects were located by police.' 

Police said they are responding to the incident as if it is terror related but they have not yet recovered any casualties
Police said they are responding to the incident as if it is terror related but they have not yet recovered any casualties

Police said they are responding to the incident as if it is terror related but they have not yet recovered any casualties

The area is in lockdown and a cordon is in place while police scour the area. Scotland Yard has said they have not yet recovered any casualties
The area is in lockdown and a cordon is in place while police scour the area. Scotland Yard has said they have not yet recovered any casualties

The area is in lockdown and a cordon is in place while police scour the area. Scotland Yard has said they have not yet recovered any casualties

Greg Bird told MailOnline he was sat outside a coffee shop near Oxford Circus station when he saw 'about 50 people sprinting around the corner and screaming'.  

British Transport Police (BTP) said the panic was sparked by an evacuation of the Central Line platform of Oxford Circus.

The spokesman said: 'At 4.37pm this afternoon, officers were called to Oxford Circus station following reports of gunfire on the westbound Central Line platform.

'Passengers at the station then self-evacuated the station onto Oxford Circus and Regent Street area of London.

'This caused a significant level of panic which resulted in numerous calls from members of the public reporting gunfire.

'Officers responded in line with our procedures of a terrorist incident, this included armed officers from British Transport Police and the Metropolitan Police. 

Stunned witnesses described seeing a stampede of shoppers and the a cordon was put in place while police swarmed the area
Stunned witnesses described seeing a stampede of shoppers and the a cordon was put in place while police swarmed the area

Stunned witnesses described seeing a stampede of shoppers and the a cordon was put in place while police swarmed the area

Hundreds of commuters were evacuated from the tube station following reports of gunshots and armed police have arrived on scene and are responding 'as if the incident is terrorist related'
Hundreds of commuters were evacuated from the tube station following reports of gunshots and armed police have arrived on scene and are responding 'as if the incident is terrorist related'

Hundreds of commuters were evacuated from the tube station following reports of gunshots and armed police have arrived on scene and are responding 'as if the incident is terrorist related'

 The BTP spokesman added: 'A full and methodical search of the station and Oxford Street was conducted by officers.

'At this stage, we are examining the circumstances of the incident which resulted in the station being evacuated.

'During the station evacuation, one woman is believed to have sustained a minor injury.

'We continue to work with the Metropolitan Police Service and are working to reopen Oxford Circus and Bond Street Tube stations. ' 

Terrified shoppers have told how they locked in the basement of a bar after gunshots were reportedly heard at Oxford Circus
Terrified shoppers have told how they locked in the basement of a bar after gunshots were reportedly heard at Oxford Circus

Terrified shoppers have told how they locked in the basement of a bar after gunshots were reportedly heard at Oxford Circus

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