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Police responding to panicked crowds face tough task

ELIZABETH, N.J. — Back in August at JFK Airport, a loud bang captured on Facebook video sent people running, fearing a possible shooter.

“Be advised, Terminal 1, people are running out and yelling ‘active shooter,’” went out over the NYPD scanner.

“We heard the shots and then everybody just pushed their way in,” said passenger Tracy Ann Maloney.

But there was no shooter.

According to former FBI Assistant Director Ron Hosko, police must act as if it’s a real emergency.

“The great difficulty here is that crowd mentality often depends on whispers, rumor control,” Hosko said.

“It doesn’t take very much for that rumor of shots fired to start, and of course that is going to ramp up a police response.”

On Monday night, it was the sound of a chair thrown during a fight, mistaken for a gunshot, that set off a panic inside an Elizabeth, New Jersey…

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