Orlando Police Chief says hysteria during Lake Eola fireworks spurred by news coverage of Highland Park

The Orlando Police Department is asking the public for any information or video of the mass hysteria during Monday’s Lake Eola fireworks show, which the chief believes escalated due to news coverage of the Highland Park shooting earlier in the day.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón described the frantic scene that took place during the Fireworks at the Fountain Celebration on Monday, July 4.

“We have not found any evidence to indicate that something like a shot was fired or anything like that occurred,” said Rolón, adding that at least a dozen people were being treated for injuries after the event. The chief says that police believe the confusion was spurred by an individual or individuals in area of Central Street and Rosalind Avenue.

Fireworks at Lake Eola on July 4 2022
Fireworks at the Fountain Celebration at Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando on July 4, 2022

“This is where we believe the chain reaction started where someone started running, and people started running, which eventually led to others doing the same,” said Rolón. He says that video obtained from a resident shows that fireworks began going off behind the chaotic scene and that it is possible that people began running after hearing those.

“Understandably so, people see others running and you are hearing all of the news coverage about what happened elsewhere during some of the celebrations, and people were just being overly reactive,” said Rolón, referring to a shooting in Highland Park, Illinois on Monday which claimed the lives of at least 8 people and left dozens others injured.

“Rightly so. You don’t want to wait until something strikes you, you want to make sure you do something to protect yourself and your families,” added Rolón.

Police are asking anyone who was in the area of Central Street, near Rosalind Avenue, to share any video, tips, or information.

To submit any information that might help police positively identify those responsible for the incident, visit the Orlando Police Department Evidence submittal portal.

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