Stampede, robbery mar SF's massive 4/20 gathering

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It was a mostly peaceful day with idyllic weather conditions for the estimated 10,000 people who gathered at Golden Gate Park's 'Hippie Hill' for the annual 4/20 celebration on Wednesday.

But there were some scary moments at the “smoke out” where a momentary panic in the crowd caused a stampede.

Stragglers were still making their way out of the park in the late evening hours. Some said gunshots started the crowd running, but SFPD found no evidence shots were fired.

“One minute all was mellow. Everybody just started running, everybody just like, boom,” said Maeila Long of Richmond. “It was like life threatening, we didn't know what was happening. Everybody just started jettin' it, just gone.”

The shooting reports came around 6 p.m. near the park. Witnesses said they saw people running from the park. One woman said she saw a fight between two men that escalated. SFPD, however, would not confirm that incident, but some people took to social media to describe the sound of shots fired and that they’d noticed people running.

There was a shooting six blocks south of the park where a car had its windows shot out, but now one was hurt.
“I had two friends that got trampled. They both fell,” said Long. “I haven't seen people scared, running like that. There was a lot of people running.”

Fortunately there were no reported injuries among those caught up in the herd. 

But the buzzkill was only temporary and the smoke continued to rise. And if it wasn’t being inhaled in its more traditional form, there was edibles like hash caramels, maple dab candy and even “all natural” dab candies.

Before this unsanctioned event, police had warned no booths were allowed or the sale of anything for that matter. Those rules weren’t really enforced and appetites were predictably healthy.

For many people 4/20 also meant nap day.

“Everyone together, all races, come together and have a great time and that's what it's about, everyone's nice, peaceful, smoking it,” said Nick Sharpe from Placerville.

Other places have their own 4/20 gatherings, but out-of-towners like to hit San Francisco’s the most.

“Everybody just gathers together and has a fun time, you’re just relaxed,” said Kristy Laforme from Sacramento.

“I haven’t seen the cops really all day around here. They don’t really bother us as long as we don’t fight or do illegal drugs or anything,” said Mario, a San Francisco resident, who did not give his last name.

Uniformed cops kept their distance throughout the day, although probation officers were out watching for violators.

Police scrambled as two people were robbed leaving the event. Officers sealed off a search area and went house to house. At one point a suspect with brass knuckles was cornered by police.

The armed robbery was only one of six arrests at the event. Three others were for narcotics warrants, one a traffic warrant and one for resisting arrest.