Oxford Circus tube station incident caused by 'altercation between two men'

Update 10.15pm: The incident at Oxford Circus Tube station that sparked a mass evacuation was caused by an "altercation" between two men, British Transport Police said.

Several people were injured and nine were taken to hospital, including one with leg injuries, after panic erupted in the packed station today.

Armed police raced to Oxford Circus Tube station and Oxford Street after receiving 999 calls reporting that shots had been fired.

British Transport Police said the incident is believed to have started with an altercation between two men on the platform.

A British Transport Police (BTP) spokesman said: "Officers alongside colleagues from Metropolitan Police Service were called to the station at 4.37pm today following reports of shots fired.

"Armed officers from BTP and MPS were quickly on scene. The area was searched swiftly and the station was reopened.

"Officers believe an altercation erupted between two men on the platform.

"They would now like to speak to these two people in the CCTV images, who they believe may have information about the incident and the circumstances around the incident.

"They would also like to speak to anyone who was at the station or in the area at the time and saw or heard anything that would have caused mass evacuation."

Update 9.03pm: Several people were injured and nine were taken to hospital in the incident at Oxford Circus Tube station, London Ambulance Service said.

Armed police raced to Oxford Circus Tube station and Oxford Street after receiving 999 calls reporting that shots had been fired.

But around 90 minutes after responding, police said there was no evidence of any shots, casualties or suspects.

London Ambulance Service said in a statement: "Following the Oxford Circus incident earlier we treated several patients who sustained injuries whilst leaving the area and discharged seven patients at the scene and took nine patients to hospital."

Update 7pm: Police are investigating what caused panic among thousands of rush-hour commuters and Black Friday shoppers in the heart of central London.

Armed police raced to Oxford Circus Tube station and Oxford Street after receiving 999 calls reporting that shots had been fired.

But around 90 minutes after responding, police said there was no evidence of any shots, casualties or suspects.

Oxford Circus Tube and Bond Street stations have reopened, most cordons have been removed and the area has returned to normal.

This includes the Royal Variety Performance at the nearby London Palladium going ahead as planned, although the arrival of the the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has been delayed.

The scene in Oxford Street in London after police responded to a number of reports of shots being fired on Oxford Street and underground at Oxford Circus tube station. Pic: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire

British Transport Police received reports at 4.37pm of gunfire on the westbound Central Line platform. Shortly afterwards the Metropolitan Police also took similar calls.

In a statement the Met said: "Given the nature of the information received, the Met responded in line with our existing operation as if the incident was terrorism, including the deployment of armed officers.

"Officers working with colleagues from British Transport Police carried out an urgent search of the area. No causalities, evidence of any shots fired or any suspects were located by police."

Passengers fled the station on to Oxford Circus and Regent Street causing a minor injury to one woman.

BTP said there was "a significant level of panic", adding that it was "examining the circumstances of the incident which resulted in the station being evacuated".

Describing the panic, BBC producer Helen Bushby said: "I was just walking down from the BBC towards the Tube and there was a mass stampede away from the Tube as fast as they could.

The scene in Oxford Street in London after police responded to a number of reports of shots being fired on Oxford Street and underground at Oxford Circus tube station. Pic: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire

"They were crying, they were screaming, they were dropping their shopping bags. It was a very panicked scene.

"People said they heard a gunshot and panic was just spreading."

Here is a timeline of the events on Oxford Street on Friday which sent thousands of people fleeing to safety:

  • 4.37pm - British Transport Police receive a report of "shots" being fired on the platform at Oxford Circus underground. Armed officers attend.
  • 4.38pm - Scotland Yard also begin to hear of "shots fired". It is initially described as "an incident".
  • 4.43pm - London Fire Brigade send three fire engines and 15 firefighters to the scene. People are told to avoid the area.
  • 4.56pm - Transport For London (TfL) post a tweet: "Oxford Circus Station is closed while we investigate a customer incident. All trains are not stopping and paper tickets will be accepted on local buses."
  • 5pm - Pop singer Olly Murs tells his nearly 8 million followers: "F*** everyone get out of @Selfridges now gun shots!! I'm inside."

  • 5.08pm - Murs adds: "Evacuating store now!!! F*** heart is pounding."
  • 5.30pm - BTP confirm they have received "one report of a woman sustaining a minor injury when leaving Oxford Circus station". There are no other reported casualties.
  • 5.35pm - Kensington Palace say they are "aware" of an incident affecting the area around London Palladium, due to host the evening's Royal Variety Performance which the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are scheduled to attend.
  • 5.42pm - Met say they have no trace "of any suspects, evidence of shots fired or casualties".
  • 5.47pm - TfL confirm Oxford Circus and Bond Street stations have both reopened and all trains are stopping normally.
  • 6.05pm - Scotland Yard say the operation has been stood down.

Update 6.12: No shots fired, no casualties as hundreds evacuate London's Oxford St

There is no evidence of shots being fired or any casualties on London's busiest shopping street, police said, after responding to reports of gunfire.

There was a "significant level of panic" on Oxford Street and at Oxford Circus Tube station as witnesses said they heard shots.

But after armed police responded to the area which was packed with Black Friday shoppers and rush-hour commuters, they announced nothing had been found and the Tube station has re-opened. One woman suffered minor injuries in the crush as the station was evacuated.

In a statement British Transport Police said: "At 4.37pm this afternoon, officers were called to Oxford Circus station following reports of gunfire on the westbound Central Line platform.

"Passengers at the station then self-evacuated the station onto Oxford Circus and Regent Street area of London.

"This caused a significant level of panic which resulted in numerous calls from members of the public reporting gunfire.

"Officers responded in line with our procedures of a terrorist incident; this included armed officers from British Transport Police and the Metropolitan Police. A full and methodical search of the station and Oxford Street was conducted by officers.

"At this stage, we are examining the circumstances of the incident which resulted in the station being evacuated.

"During the station evacuation, one woman is believed to have sustained a minor injury."

Watch developments live below:

Update 5.45pm: Police say no evidence of shots fired at Oxford Street incident

Police have not located any trace of suspects, evidence of shots fired or casualties at the Oxford Street incident, Scotland Yard said.

Update 5.35: Gunshots reported on packed Oxford Street in London as Black Friday shoppers told to hide

British Transport Police said they have received one report of a woman sustaining a minor injury when leaving Oxford Circus station, but there are no other reported casualties.

Watch developments live below:

Update 5.21pm: Gunshots are reported to have been fired on London's busiest shopping street and a packed Tube station, police said.

Scotland Yard said it was responding to reports of gunfire on Oxford Street and Oxford Circus tube station and were treating the incident as if it was terrorist related.

The scene in Oxford Street in London after police responded to a number of reports of shots being fired on Oxford Street and underground at Oxford Circus tube station and are responding as if the incident is terrorist related. Picture: Georgina Stubbs/PA Wire

Black Friday shoppers on the street were urged to take cover, but police said they had not yet found any casualties.

Update 5.13pm: Police respond to 'incident' at Oxford Circus tube station

Scotland Yard urged anyone on Oxford Street to "go into a building".

The area will have been packed with rush-hour commuters and shoppers along the shopping street.

BTP added: "We continue to respond to an incident at Oxford Circus. The station is currently closed, please avoid the area at this time. Officers are on scene."

The scene in Oxford Street in London after police responded to a number of reports of shots being fired on Oxford Street and underground at Oxford Circus tube station. Picture: Georgina Stubbs/PA Wire

Greg Owen, 37, from London, said: "I was next to the tube station and everyone started screaming and shouting and then a flood of people came up the stairs."

And a witness who only wanted to be known as Emma said she heard something which sounded like "three shots."

She said: "There were shots fired on Oxford Street and then armed police ran into me and my friend.

"Armed Police were running up Argyll Street and now we're locked in French Connection."

BBC producer Helen Bushby, who was shopping in the area, said there were scenes of panic amid talk of gunshots.

"Panic was just spreading," she said. "Everyone wanted to get away as quickly as they could. People were sprinting and crying. It was very worrying to watch."

Earlier: Oxford Circus station in London has been evacuated because of an "incident", police said.

There were reports of people running out of the Tube station on Friday afternoon.

On Twitter, British Transport Police said: "Officers are responding to reports of an incident at Oxford Circus station. Officers are on scene, more information when we get it."

They added in a later tweet that the station is closed and asked people to avoid the area.

Transport for London said on Twitter: "Oxford Circus Station is closed while we investigate a customer incident."

More to follow...

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