2 men questioned by UK police after panic in central London

Author: AP
Police officers and members of the public walk near the entrance of Oxford Circus subway station in the west of London after it was reopened Friday Nov. 24, 2017. British police flooded London’s busy Oxford Circus area Friday after receiving multiple reports of “shots fired.” They have not located any casualties. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

LONDON (AP) Two men sought by authorities after an altercation at a central London subway station that led to panic at the heart of the Oxford Street shopping district turned themselves in to police for questioning Saturday, officials said.

Two men aged 21 and 40 went to a police station voluntarily after a public appeal was launched, British Transport Police said. Both were interviewed by police. They haven’t been identified or charged with any crime.

Authorities believe the two men had some type of confrontation on the Oxford Circus subway platform Friday afternoon, sparking panicky, false reports that guns had been fired.

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Several people were injured and nine were taken to hospital, including one with leg injuries, after chaos erupted in the packed station on Friday.

Panic spread quickly near the Oxford Circus subway station on Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year. But police said after evacuating two subway stations that there were no indications that any shots had been fired.

The public response to the altercation, fueled by unfounded social media posts about gunfire, indicated that Londoners remain on edge after a year marred by numerous extremist attacks.

British Transport Police had released photos of the two men on Friday night and appealed for information about the incident.

Police initially treated the reported gunfire as a possible terrorism incident and social media was filled with alarming false reports about shooting at several locations.

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The singer Olly Murs contributed to the confusion by tweeting about gunfire at the famous Selfridges department store on Oxford Street.

Some people were injured in the stampede away from the subway station. Major stores opened as usual Saturday as crowds descended in search of bargains.

Britain’s official terrorist threat level is set as “severe,” indicating that intelligence analysts believe an attack is highly likely.

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