Oxford Street: What happened to cause ‘terror’ scare in central London?

Written by on November 25, 2017

Shoppers on Europe’s busiest street ran for cover inside stores over fears of a terror attack at an underground station – but what actually happened?

Scotland Yard started receiving “numerous” 999 calls at 4.38pm on Friday, with people saying multiple shots had been fired on Oxford Street and inside nearby Oxford Circus station.

The Met Police and British Transport Police (BTP) treated the information as a possible terror attack and sent armed officers to the scene, with the first armed response vehicle getting there in less than a minute after the first call.

Shoppers were seen running out of the station, many were screaming and their faces were “ashen”, a witness told Sky News.

As word spread, the street which was thronged with shoppers and tourists as on a usual Friday afternoon, was suddenly empty.

Police say they believe two men (L and R) were involved in an altercation on the platform

People were ushered into shop changing rooms and main doors were locked, pedestrians took cover in passing taxis and others just ran.

London Fire Brigade sent three fire engines with 15 firefighters to the scene.

At 5.16pm the Met Police released a statement saying they had been called to “a number of reports of shots fired” and were responding as if the incident was “terrorist-related”.

They told anybody in Oxford Street to go into a building and stay inside until instructed and told people travelling to the Oxford Street area to turn around.

Various rumours quickly spread via social media, with some saying shots had been fired, while others said there had been a gang fight on the platform at Oxford Circus station.

Several people were hurt and nine were taken to hospital, including one with leg injuries, after panic erupted in the packed station.

There were rumours that a bomb had gone off and some even said they had seen people who had been shot.

Armed police were seen storming down the escalators in Selfridges as it was evacuated.

People on the Oxford Street were instructed to take cover in shops

Oxford Circus, which is usually rammed with shoppers, was empty apart from emergency services

Singer Olly Murs was tweeting from inside the famous department store which is half a mile from Oxford Circus Tube station.

At 5pm he said: “F*** everyone get out of Selfridges now gun shots!! I’m inside.”

Over the next 10 minutes he revealed he was hiding in a back office and people were screaming and running towards exits before shoppers were told to evacuate.

Armed police were seen going down the escalators in Selfridges

At 5.39pm the Met Police said they had not located “any trace of any suspects, evidence of shots fired or casualties” but were continuing to search.

They instructed anybody in buildings to remain there and people on Oxford Street to leave.

At 6.05pm the Met stood down their response after finding nothing.

A few hours later, at 9.46pm, the British Transport Police said they believed the incident started after an altercation erupted between two men on the platform at Oxford Circus station.

They released pictures of two men they wish to speak to over the mass evacuation and later tweeted that a 21-year-old and 40-year-old had both attended a police station voluntarily and had been interviewed.


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