False internal reports of gunfire at Navy Pier after the iconic July 4 fireworks prompted Chicago Police and federal authorities to implement an active shooter protocol, causing a "stampede-like situation," police said.
"I'd like to extend our thoughts to everyone involved in last night's incident," said Bureau of Patrol Chief Fred Waller. "I was there personally, and I can tell you things were very chaotic amid false reports of a shooting at Navy Pier."
As crowds left the Pier following the fireworks, police received unconfirmed reports that someone lit a firework in the crowd just after 10 p.m., Waller said.
Private security officers assigned to Navy Pier signaled a possible active shooter, Waller said, and directed the crowd to take shelter on the ground.
That prompted the Chicago Police Department, Secret Service, FBI, TSA, Illinois State Police and county support resources to implement an active shooter protocol. They began searching Navy Pier to investigate, Waller said.
People quickly funneled toward the exits after the firecracker went off, and at least 14 people were trampelled.
"In the end," Waller said, "there was never an active shooter and no one was shot."
Commenting on the false shooter report, Supt. Eddie Johnson said of the private security officers: "If you're going to make an errant judgement, we want to err on the side of caution."
Around the same time the firecracker went off, an argument escalated into a stabbing near the McDonald's at Navy Pier.
At least two individuals began arguing and taunting each other, Waller said. It escalated, a young man pulled out a knife and stabbed three individuals.
A 14-year-old boy was stabbed in the arm and rib, and a 15-year-old boy was stabbed in the armpit, police said. Both were listed Friday in stable condition.
A 30-year-old was stabbed in the face and arm. Police initially said he wasn't involved in the fight as he couldn't remember any details about the stabbing.
In all 31 juveniles were arrested July 4 for disorderly conduct-related charges, and five adults were arrested, including two gun arrests.
Police also initially said the incident occurred outside the secured area of the pier, noting all visitors entering Navy Pier were put through a security screening process before the fireworks show.