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Speaker playing gunfire audio causes shooting scare at Bel Air pool

Speaker playing gunfire audio causes shooting scare at Bel Air pool
Panic after sounds of gunfire at swim club; Harford Co. Sheriff says suspect played gunshot audio on speaker 02:27

BEL AIR, Md. -- Kimberly Shew described the frightening moments Monday night when the sounds of gunfire rang out at the Fountain Green Swim Club in Bel Air, which was packed for a social event for 11- to 14-year-old children.

"I heard five gunshots, and it was so scary," Shew said. "Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow. I called 911, then all these kids came running to the right side of my car and trying to hide. It was horrible."

Police said it turned out no shots were fired. Instead, someone played the sounds of gunfire through speakers, causing the panic.

Kimberly's 13-year-old daughter, Lauren, was inside at the time. 

"Everyone started screaming and running. People were trying to jump gates. People's hands were cut open because they tried jumping gates and the wire cut them," Lauren Shew said. "I couldn't stop thinking about it. I was really scared. I had trouble sleeping a little bit."

The sheriff said the person who played the audio could face charges including reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct. Authorities have yet to identify that person. 

"Someone decided to amplify through a speaker system the sounds of gunshots, obviously putting all the young people who were attending the event there into a panic. Just an unsafe thing to do, a reckless thing to do, a careless thing to do," Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler told WJZ.

Police also responded to a fight at the swim club before the gunshot speaker incident -- a 15-year-old boy who allegedly assaulted a 13-year-old boy.

As for the Shew family, they will not be going back to what had become a tradition before the start of the new school year. They are thankful there were no major injuries. 

"You hear a gunshot, and with everything going on, how do you know it was not real? At the time, it was chaos," Kimberly Shew said. "It was horrible. Everybody was shaken up."

The Fountain Green Swim Club declined to comment to WJZ, but the club's board of directors posted a statement on social media thanking the sheriff's office for their "prompt and appropriate response" and "the professionalism of our incredible management team, staff and volunteers."

Sheriff Gahler said deputies responded tor he incident within four minutes.

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