A possible chemical agent was released in front of the main stage at the Baltimore Pride Block Party on Saturday night, causing a stampede and ending a performance by headliner Saucy Santana.

The incident occurred around 8:37 p.m. when police said attendees informed officers stationed at the Pride Parade festivities that a possible chemical agent, potentially Mace or hairspray, was released into the crowd. Fireworks were also set off in the location, which added to the chaos and caused attendees to flee, according to a spokesperson for the Baltimore Police.

Police did not release the chemical agent and are trying to determine what it was, the spokesperson added. The main stage for the event was located near North Avenue and Charles Street.

“The event was closed. The fire department responded and was tending to several injuries from the mass exodus,” a police spokesperson said Sunday.

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Officers are reviewing surveillance video to determine the sequence of events, according to the spokesperson. Police declined to answer how many people were involved in the incident and what might have prompted the possible chemical agent to be released. They also didn’t say how many people were treated for injuries.

“We do not have any information to support that this was a targeted attack,” the police department spokesperson said.

Online social media posts suggest the chemical agent was Mace. These posts allege it was sprayed after a fight broke out, prompting panic and a stampede.

“There were people on the ground getting stomped on the crowd,” one attendee wrote on X. “It was all around traumatizing.”

Cockeysville resident Kate Bowers said she and her friends were standing to the side of the stage during the middle of the Santana performance when chaos ensued.

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“All of the sudden, people were screaming and running. It was like a bomb went off. The air was so thick,” Bowers said. “People were throwing up. People were pouring water in each other’s eyes. There was a little kid in a stroller. They were pouring water in the child’s eyes.”

Bowers and her friends ran less than a block to an open parking lot. In the process, one of their friends became separated from the group. The friend eventually was tracked down and was safe.

There was heavy police presence in the area with a low-flying helicopter hovering above repeating the message: “stay calm, the situation is under control,” Bowers recalled.

Today, Bowers said she and her friends can’t stop coughing.

“I’m not sure I’ve quite processed it yet. It was such an abrupt, drastic thing,” Bowers said. “Waking up this morning. The magnitude of what could have happened hit me. That was the scary thing, thinking ‘how much worse can this get?’”

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Bowers said this will not deter her from attending future Pride events or other festivals. “But I will be more aware of my surroundings and where my friends are,” she said.

Pride Center of Maryland, the state’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to providing resources to the LGBTQ community, oversees the annual event. On Sunday, PCOM Executive Director Cleo Manago said a “group of youths” used Mace during the block party.

”PCOM considers community safety a priority, which sparked an earlier conversation about moving the Baltimore Pride Festival to a venue more conducive to controlling what people bring in,” Manago said.

This year’s parade and festival was expected to attract 100,000 people. Although he did not have an official count, Manago said “optically” crowds this year appeared double that of last year.

Manago said the incident did not impact turnout for today’s Pride in the Park event, being held from noon to 6 p.m. in Druid Hill Park.

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“People are here in droves,” Manago said. “Yet, today, our security force is paying particular attention to what Pride celebrants bring in with them.”

He added that PCOM would revisit moving the festival to a “larger venue that is more conducive to managing the potential for Mace or any other dangerous item to enter this highly anticipated event.”

Attendees of the parade Saturday afternoon included Bailey Anne Kennedy, the first trans woman to win the title of Miss Maryland USA, and U.S. Senate candidate Angela Alsobrooks.

LGBTQ bars near the incident did not report any disruption to business. Brandon Gruszczynski, who manages the Baltimore Eagle Bar & Nightclub in Old Goucher, said the incident was unfortunate but it did not spill into his establishment.

”We had a ton of security measures in place to protect guests,” he said. ”We heard people chatting about it,” he added.

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At Club Car, a queer cocktail bar in Station North, it was business as usual.

”Things were great. There was the same amount of staff with additional security. Everything for us was peaceful,” said Ryan Haase, founder of Club Car.

”I was bartending, so I didn’t see it or really hear anything about it — and we were half a block away. We were busy, though,” Haase said.

This story is developing.