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A Panicked Stampede At A "Hamilton" Performance Injured 3 After A Medical Emergency Was Confused For A Shooting

According to audience members, "people were screaming, ducking down, crawling on the floor" and "shouts of 'gun' could be heard."

Posted on February 16, 2019, at 11:30 a.m. ET

HamiltonMusical / Twitter / Via Twitter: @HamiltonMusical

A Hamilton performance at San Francisco's Orpheum Theater ended in chaos Friday night after a heart attack in the audience was apparently confused for an active shooter.

Three people were injured as a result of the pandemonium, one with a broken leg and the other two with moderate injuries.

The person who had the heart attack is in critical condition, the fire department said Friday night.

The confusion may have been elevated because the medical emergency happened at the same time as the show's duel scene, in which gunfire can be heard, WFLA reported.

Our #Hamilton show ended in a mass panic. Members of the audience started screaming and running, shouts of “gun” could be heard. The entire theater cleared out. Theater staff tells us it was actually one person who suffered a medical emergency. Someone misconstrued the situation

Journalist Joe Khalil, who was in the audience, said people were "screaming and running" and "shouts of 'gun' could be heard."

According to the fire department, the use of a defibrillator triggered an alarm, causing "confusion" and a "rapid exit" of the theatre. The theatre company said an audience member pulled the fire alarm.

Videos of the incident show people evacuating the theatre in a panic, and many audience members crouching between seats for cover.

Hamilton at Orpheum ended in pandemonium. Medical emergency led to screaming, which led to others shouting “gun”. Mass evacuation (hundreds of people stampeding) and police in force. Absolutely nuts.

The performance was canceled after the incident, but people were allowed back into the theatre after to collect their belongings.

In one video following the evacuation, theatergoers applauded the cast as they walked back into the building.

Hamilton cast walking back to the theater after a medical emergency panicked our audience. #hamilton #shnsf #HamiltonSF

On social media, several people who'd been in attendance criticized the theater for the incident and said they "need to review their emergency protocols."

"It was not an orderly evacuation of the theatre, people were panicked and confused," one person commented on the theater's Facebook post. "I did not hear one announcement and the lights certainly did not come up as people were crawling on the ground to the exits... Also no staff direction and people were trampled."

@shnsf I was in the balcony with my 6 and 9 year old. There was absolutely NO announcement. There was mass chaos and absolutely no support and direction from SHN staff. Extremely disappointed in how the event was handled.

Another person said "screams were heard in the audience, a cry for 'help' for what seemed to be a medical emergency and it quickly turned into chaos and panic with audience members [saying] there was a gun, people were screaming, ducking down, crawling on the floor, jumping over chairs and other people in order to try and reach the exit."

"If any announcement was made it was too quiet to be heard in the panic stricken theater," the commenter said. "It was a misunderstanding and a severe overreaction that quickly got out of hand, but sadly this is the world we live in now."

"It’s more believable that there would be an active shooter in a theater than a medical emergency," they said.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.