News (USA)

Unknown “chemical agent” released at Baltimore Pride causes panic & injuries

An orange chemical is sprayed into the crowd at Baltimore Pride Photo: X video screenshot

Panic ensued at Baltimore Pride in Maryland this past Sunday after an unknown chemical agent — believed to be mace, tear gas, or another irritant — was released into a crowd near a main stage, leading to many being injured in the chaos.

A video of the incident posted onto X depicts two individuals in civilian clothes fighting, with onlookers surrounding them trying to break it up. The fight begins to escalate, and one of them pulls out an unknown substance to spray their opponent, leading to the aerosol spray hitting the rest of the crowd.

The chaos was reportedly made worse by the launching of fireworks, which many mistook for gunshots.

Another video showed users fleeing the scene in a panic. Some people recording the panic mentioned the substance potentially being mace, a pepper spray designed to severely irritate the eyes, skin, and breathing passages.

First responders treated injuries of people on the scene, and festivities were shut down. This incident occurred after 8:30 PM near North Avenue and Charles Street by the main stage during a performance by Saucy Santana.

It is currently unknown how many were injured.

Reporter Kaitlan Newman of The Baltimore Banner reports that her intern was at the event and saw the chaos that ensued firsthand.

Other individuals at the event reported that the irritant released into the crowd, and the resulting chaos, led to them being trampled over. “It was soooo traumatizing,” said one attendee.

One user claimed that the substance led to people coughing and vomiting.

Another user said that security made the incident worse by pushing them and causing additional injuries.

No information is available on what caused the fight or who was involved.

Blue Smith, a performer at Baltimore Pride, spoke to LGBTQ Nation. Smith said that until this incident occurred, “[The event] was all love and peace.”

“Me and friends were already getting our belongings to get ready to leave, when all of a sudden a fight broke out,” Smith said. “I’m not sure who was fighting, but someone pulled out mace and was just spraying everyone. The crowd ran, and we all just started running cause it sounded like someone started shooting. Everybody with me was safe, but some people got trampled and some people broke bones simply from being trapped behind the gates.”

“It was sad but the event was truly beautiful until the pettiness began,” Smith added.

Smith continued saying that while they were not hurt in the event, “It saddens me because Baltimore already gets a bad look. I just hate that the times are supposed to have the most fun we f**k it up by being selfish. I feel bad for everybody who got hurt. I just really wish we could bring peace to my city.”

Police are currently investigating the incident.

“At approximately 8:37 p.m., attendees informed officers stationed at the Pride Parade festivities that a possible chemical agent was released into the crowd, potentially mace, hair spray, or another agent. Police did not release the chemical agent,” Detective Freddie Talbert of the Baltimore Police Department told Newsweek.

“Due to the large crowd fleeing, several individuals were injured as they attempted to leave the area,” Talbert added.

Talbert said there’s no “information to support that this was a targeted attack.”

The organizers of Baltimore Pride and the Pride Center of Maryland have pledged to look into other venues for future events to prevent any additional incidents like this.

According to the Baltimore Banner, Bailey Anne Kennedy — the first trans woman to win a Miss Maryland USA pageant — and U.S. Senate candidate Angela Alsobrooks were in attendance at the pride event.

Smith concluded by saying, “We truly are better than what the media portrays but s**t does happen”

LGBTQ Nation reached out to the organizers of Baltimore Pride and the Baltimore Fire Department for comment. This story will be updated if either responds.

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