Scroll To Top
News

Police rule out terrorism in chemical agent release at Baltimore Pride Festival

Saucy Santana performing 2024 baltimore lgbtq pride festival parade sign pride was a riot
Tonya Caver/Caver Imaging; Bartosz Koszowski/Shutterstock

On Saturday, revelers panicked after many couldn’t breathe and began to experience burning eyes after two groups got into a fight.

Cwnewser

Attendees of anLGBTQ+Pride Month celebration in Baltimore fled in panic this weekend after a chemical agent spread through the air.

A release of mace at an event on Saturday night caused chaos, leading to a mass exodus and multiple injuries at the Baltimore Pride Festival. According to Lindsey Eldridge, chief of public affairs and community outreach for the Baltimore Police Department, the incident occurred around 8:37 p.m. during the Pride Block Party near North Avenue and Charles Street.

Eldridge explained that the mace was sprayed during a physical altercation between two groups attending the event. Musician Saucy Santana was performing at the time of the disturbance. Simultaneously, fireworks were set off, which exacerbated the panic and caused attendees to flee the area, according to police.

Eldridge told The Advocate that three people who came into contact with the mace were treated and released at a nearby hospital. Fire officials also treated several injuries resulting from the mass exodus. Eldridge emphasized that officers did not release the mace, and there is no evidence to suggest that the incident was a targeted attack.

The incident follows a warning from federal law enforcement officials in May about thepotential for terrorist attacks at Pride events this year. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security released a public service announcement on May 10 highlighting an increased threat environment during Pride Month. The alert indicated that foreign terrorist organizations, such as ISIS, and their supporters might exploit the large gatherings associated with Pride events. The agencies urged the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity.

“Our officers are diligently reviewing the surveillance video to gather all the necessary information,” Eldridge said.

Kate Bowers, a Cockeysville resident who attended the event, described the scene as chaotic and frightening. “All of a sudden, people were screaming and running. It was like a bomb went off. The air was so thick. People were throwing up. People were pouring water in each other’s eyes. There was a little kid in a stroller. They were pouring water in the child’s eyes,” shetold the Baltimore Banner. Bowers and her friends escaped safely, although one friend was temporarily separated from the group.

Cleo Manago, executive director of the Pride Center of Maryland, which organizes the annual event, emphasized the importance of community safety. “PCOM considers community safety a priority, which sparked an earlier conversation about moving the Baltimore Pride Festival to a venue more conducive to controlling what people bring in,” Manago told the outlet.

Despite the incident, Sunday’s Pride in the Park event at Druid Hill Park saw high attendance, with large groups gathering for music, vendors, and live performances.

Cwnewser
30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Christopher Wiggins

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).
Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).