Chaos Breaks Out at Famed Meadowlands State Fair After Gunshots Ring Out: Police

What to Know

  • Witnesses described hearing at least three shots as chaos erupted at the New Jersey State Fair at the Meadowlands
  • No one was hurt, and though several people are being questioned, no charges have been filed at this time
  • Thursday was the first day of the fair, which runs through July 9

Shots rang out at a popular New Jersey fair outside MetLife Stadium late Thursday, sparking a panicked stampede, police say.

New Jersey State Police said troopers rushed to the scene at the State Fair Meadowlands in East Rutherford around 11:30 p.m. after gunshots were heard.

At least three shots were heard, witnesses and fair workers said. Video from the scene shows people panicking and running for the exits.

"We heard what sounded like a loud gunshot... I looked around and thought maybe it was a balloon going off, but when we saw all of these people running in our direction, that's when we realized this was something other than a balloon going off," said fairgoer Michael Rosero of Secaucus.

"There was mass chaos," he said. "My wife had to jump off the ride with my daughter. Everyone started running." 

"It was like everyone just knew they had to run. I don't remember a lot of screams, but 'let's get out of here,'" said Taylor Moon, who at first thought she'd heard a firecracker. 

There were no reports of any injuries, according to police.

The fair was quickly shut down as authorities interviewed witnesses, police said

One witness said the violence started when a fight broke out between a group of men. Video showed a man was being led away by officers in handcuffs.

State police said Friday three men have been arrested in the gunfire scare on aggravated assault charges after they allegedly beat another man: 33-year-old Matthew Smart, 24-year-old Lamir Bradley and 23-year-old Robert Terry, all of Jersey City. 

Terry is facing additional charges of unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose and obstruction, according to police. 

Attorney information for the men wasn't immediately clear. 

Thursday was the first day of the fair, which runs through July 9. The fair opened Friday night with tighter security. Some fans said they didn't mind the extra protection. 

"With all the stuff that's going on, it didn't bother me," John Jermal Frazier said. "It's like going to the airport." 

"If anything, it's probably safer tonight than ever before," Dan Moran said. 

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the name of the fair. 

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