Chicago

‘I Was Panicking’: Mother, Daughter On Girls’ Trip Caught in Navy Pier Stampede

"I heard of the violence in Chicago. I think everybody hears about that. But people were like, well, you are going to be in a touristy area. It’s pretty safe. So, it was the last thing on my mind."

A mother and daughter visiting Chicago for a "girl's trip" were among the crush of people caught in a stampede triggered by a false gun report Thursday night after Navy Pier's Fourth of July fireworks.

"I was panicking," 9-year-old Sumaya Andrews said, "and I was crying, because I did not know what was happening."

"Everybody’s down on the floor," Fa Sy, Sumaya's mom, said of the disorder, "and we do not know what’s going on."

Chicago police said someone threw firecrackers on the packed Navy Pier, which hit maximum capacity hours before, and someone yelled "gun," sparking a chaotic "stampede" toward the exit. At least 13 people were trampled and injured.

"I held her hand," Fa Sy said, "and I was like, 'Let’s move to the side, because I do not want people running on us.'  Especially because she’s a child. And when people are panicking? Like, they don’t care. They were big people and they were just pushing everyone away."

Fa Sy said there was a lack of information with police shouting "get down" but no specific instructions. Tensions were high until they made it back to their hotel -- a bad end to a good trip.

"I heard of the violence in Chicago," she said. "I think everybody hears about that. But people were like, well, you are going to be in a touristy area. It’s pretty safe. So, it was the last thing on my mind."

Fa Sy and Sumaya had been in town from Washington D.C. since Tuesday. Their agenda included museums, shopping and Fourth of July fun, culminating in the Navy Pier fireworks.

This was supposed to be a fun mom-daughter trip before Sumaya starts 5th grade.  

"You don’t even know what’s safe for your child," Fa Sy said. "You are just standing there, hoping for the best. And then not knowing what’s gonna happen? I think that was the worst part for me."

Navy Pier was back to business as usual on Friday with the exception of a busy "lost and found" area as visitors from Thursday night returned to claim the purses, shoes and strollers they left behind in the aftermath.

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