Erin Phillips. Picture: Tricia Watkinson
Erin Phillips. Picture: Tricia Watkinson

Aussie star fled from pride parade panic

AFLW and WNBA star Erin Phillips has revealed she was caught up in the panic after a suspected shooting created chaos at a pride parade in Washington DC.

A man threatened another person with a BB gun during an LGBTQ pride parade in the nation's capital and set off a panic that sent hundreds of people, who mistakenly believed gunshots were fired, running in fear, police said Sunday.

Phillips, an Olympic basketballer medal winner and two-time WNBA champion who is now the best player in the AFLW competition winning two MVP awards, said she was about 100m from the incident and "ran and hid with the thousands of others in complete fear".

Erin Phillips celebrates winning the AFLW MVP in 2017 with wife Tracy Gahan. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)
Erin Phillips celebrates winning the AFLW MVP in 2017 with wife Tracy Gahan. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

"How has the world come to this?" the 34-year-old tweeted.

Aftabjit Singh, 38, was arrested on weapons possession and disorderly conduct charges after Saturday evening's incident in the Dupont Circle neighbourhood of Washington, DC, where thousands of people packed the streets to celebrate in the city's annual pride parade.

Although no gunshots were fired, hundreds of people ran from the area, knocking down metal police barricades and running into stores, fearing that a gunman had opened fire on the crowd of revellers.

Seven people were taken to local hospitals for injuries they suffered while fleeing the area, authorities said. Inside a small park in Dupont Circle, Singh pulled the BB gun on another person who was "hitting on his significant other," according to a police report.

People began running from the area and police officers who were keeping watch over the festivities heard revellers shouting that there was a man with a gun.

Police keep watch at Dupont Circle at the conclusion of the parade. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Police keep watch at Dupont Circle at the conclusion of the parade. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

As the officers got closer, someone in the crowd pointed to Singh and said he had a gun in his bag. An officer stopped Singh and noticed what appeared to be a silver handgun sticking out of his brown bag that was underneath a tree, the report said.

The weapon turned out to actually be a BB gun, police said. As he was led away in handcuffs, Singh vowed to come back and shoot the person who he had been threatened, police said.

Organisers decided to shut down the parade for the night after the incident but said they would not allow the scare to ruin the weekend pride celebrations. The group that organises the event said it spends extensive time planning security procedures.