Crowds spending Christmas night at Downtown Disney stampeded to safety after false reports of a shooting.
A reported altercation at a restaurant led some to believe that shots had been fired — a rumor quickly dispelled by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Nevertheless, in the moment, crowds panicked and ran for their lives.
SO IM AT DOWNTOWN DISNEY AND THERE WAS A SHOOTING!! NEVER RAN SO FAST EVER IN MY LIFE
— irma (@irmuss_) December 26, 2015
I WAS RUNNING BUT I HEARD THERE WAS A SHOOTING AT DOWNTOWN DISNEY PLEASE STAY SAFE ITS ON LOCKDOWN IF YOU KNOW PEOPLE IN THE AREA+
— Dom (@emoeggstar) December 26, 2015
OMG THERE WAS A SHOOTING IN DOWNTOWN DISNEY!!!! THERE WAS SHOTS AND THERE WAS A WAVE OF PEOPLE!!! IT WAS IN BONCOS CUBAN FOOD
— Caleb (@CalebBlogs) December 26, 2015
Just overheard a Disney CM tell another that "nothing happened, someone just thought they heard something" at Downtown Disney
— dave (@mondoharpo) December 26, 2015
Police said no shots were fired as was initially rumored. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said instead that several people on the second floor of Bongo’s restaurant were involved in a fistfight.
Orange County Sheriff’s Department said that Luis Antonio Ojedareyes, 70, of Georgetown, Florida, was upset that his meal was taking so long. Managers apologized for the delay stating that since it was Christmas the restaurant we extremely busy. Luis used coarse language at the manager and took a swing at him then grabbed the arm of an employee of the restaurant.
The manager and employees escorted Luis out of the restaurant.
An arrest affidavit shows he was charged with battery.
Bongo’s Cuban Café released the following statement:
“It was an unfortunate situation caused by an unruly customer seated on our second floor terrace. His behavior resulted in him being removed from the restaurant and arrested. Bongos management took every precaution to ensure the safety of all our guests during the disturbance..
Unfortunately, some of our guests seated on the first floor heard rumble and loud noises from the floor above them. Some ran out of our restaurant ,and incorrectly reported the sounds they heard as gun fire.
There was neither gun fire nor any level of a fight at Bongos. There was an unruly guest who had to be removed, and arrested. His behavior triggered the issues experienced at Disney Springs last night.”
Patrons at Disney Springs on Friday night called it a scary scene, initially believing they had heard gunshots.
Some people on social media reported they ran for their lives, comparing it to a stampede. A few of the guests were trampled over by people running to the parking garage.
Helicopters could be heard overhead, and businesses were put on lockdown, with no one allowed into or out of the restaurants and shops.
Luis bonded out of jail at 4:43 a.m. Saturday. His bond was set at $500.
All restaurants and shoppes at Disney Springs were re-opened shortly after the incident ended.