LONDON — One of London’s busiest subway stations was evacuated on Friday evening following reports of gunfire, according to the Metropolitan Police, which said that its officers had “responded as if the incident is terrorist related.”
Details about the episode were not immediately clear, but the station is at the center of one of the busiest shopping areas in London, and the evacuation set off new jitters, coming at the end of a year in which London has been targeted by several terrorist attacks.
Witnesses described a scene of panic, with people running from the station, some in tears, with one woman having lost a shoe. Shopping bags littered the sidewalks. The police shut off roads within several blocks of Oxford Circus and urged people in the vicinity to take shelter in stores and office buildings.
Mattias Nilsson, 45, said he was in town with friends for a Premier League soccer match and was near Oxford Circus Station when he heard people shouting.
“We just ran. Everyone started running,” he said. “This is making me nervous.”
The Metropolitan Police issued a statement saying that they responded to calls at 4:38 p.m. and were proceeding “as if the incident is terrorist related.” But a statement from the British Transport Police said that the only injury reported so far was a woman hurt in the panic, and that was minor.
However, Transport of London described it as a “customer incident”; the British Transport Police said “officers are on the scene.”
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