The West Alabama State Fair held in Sokol Park in the town of Northport, AL was interrupted by what many believed to be gunshots Saturday night. As you might imagine, people reacted by making a mob run at the exits. However, police have vehemently denied the reports of gunshots, saying that instead someone set off fireworks in trash cans, causing the illusion of gunshots and mass panic. Not only did the fair reopen quickly, but it is now offering free admission the next day to try to regain attendance after the incident.
People on the ground in Northport are telling a much different story, however. There are literally dozens of accounts of the incident making their way on social media, and many are questioning the official story being given. The police gave the story and local newspaper The Tuscaloosa News is reporting it as if the police story were fact. There is no mention in local news stories of the possibility that the police aren’t telling the whole story.
String together a narrative from several eyewitness accounts, it appears that a couple of girls were in a dispute around the time of the shootings. Nearly everyone’s account agrees that gunfire erupted. The fight apparently had escalated to a very violent state leading up to the first gunshot. Many eyewitness accounts indicate that there was no trash can anywhere near the incident, which police say is the method by which the fireworks were set off. Some even observed people returning later to pick up the shells. What’s more, many have went on to say that fireworks did go off later, but this was several minutes after the incident and didn’t have anything to do with the mobs seeking the exits.
The real question is why would the police there on the scene in Northport be covering up a shooting? As far as anyone knows, no one was killed or injured. Instead of covering it up, it seems it would have been just as advantageous to give the details of the incident, blame it on the guilty parties, and remind everyone that it was an isolated incident and no reason to not enjoy the fair. However, now there is so much doubt about the incident that it is probably backfiring on them, causing even more people to wonder what exactly is going on in Sokol Park.
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