indica News Bureau-
An Indian-American man was arrested for threatening and causing a stampede with a BB gun at an LGBTQ pride parade at Dupont Circle in downtown Washington DC on Saturday, June 8. Thirty-eight-year-old Aftabjit Singh, caused widespread fear of a mass shooting in the parade and left several people injured. The man pleaded not guilty in court and was released as of June 11.
Singh, was triggered when an individual allegedly “threatened” his partner. He was immediately arrested by vigilant police after the weapon was extracted from his brown bag. Several people reported to News4 of hearing gunshots, but the police said that there was no proof of a shooting.
The police report that a citizen caught hold of an officer, Blaise Maio, and drew his attention to Singh and a brown bag under a tree. Maio noticed Singh approach the bag and halted him. Maio reported that he saw what seemed to be a silver handgun in the partly opened bag. Later it was determined that the weapon was not an actual handgun, but an imitation pistol that Singh claimed was a BB gun.
Tom Roussey, the reporter at ABC7, explained in a tweet, “Per court papers he says he & his wife were hit & maced by two guys and he took out the BB gun to scare them.” Roussey’s colleague, Victoria Sanchez, an attendant of the parade and also a reporter for ABC7 tweeted, “While covering the DC Pride Parade, hundreds of people started running toward our news car and surrounding streets. We didn’t know what was happening but ran to find out.”
Another woman in the vicinity was also arrested by the police for assault on an officer. While the police cannot confirm if the suspects knew each other, they maintain that the two incidents are separate and unrelated.
19-year old Elizabeth Hernandez heard a “pop, pop,” the Associated Press reported. She reportedly fled, was summoned into a restaurant and concealed herself in the restroom. “Everything fell and everyone said ‘run!,'” said Hernandez, of Falls Church, Virginia.
The people at the parade though said they thought they heard gunshots, but Lt. Brett Parson, who oversees D.C. Police Department’s LGBT Liaison Unit and who was on the scene said police are certain that no shots were fired.
Singh was charged for illegally possessing a BB gun, holding a threatening weapon, and for disorderly behavior. He was tried in court on Monday.
Singh told the Washington Blade following his court arraignment that he pulled out an unloaded BB gun to protect the woman Melissa Duffy, he calls his wife after an unidentified man assaulted her as she stood next to the Dupont Circle fountain.
Singh adding further said his brother is a gay, and they have attended the parade in the past as well and supports gay rights.