People flee, take cover as police respond to reports of gunfire in London

Officers are responding reports of gunfire on Oxford Street and at the Oxford Circus Tube station in Central London, police said Friday.

People were seen fleeing the station, taking shelter in nearby buildings and holding each other as police descended on the area.

Ian Pannell, ABC News’ senior foreign correspondent, was on the scene at Oxford Street when the chaos erupted. He said at first he couldn’t understand what he was hearing. He left the store he was in to investigate and saw a stampede of panicked people coming toward him.

“It sounded like a herd of elephants. I couldn’t work out what the noise was,” he said.

He ducked back inside the store with his family to stay safe.

“You could hear screaming, shouting,” he said. “People were falling all over each other …you could see their sheer terror.”

Oxford Street is one the busiest shopping centers in London, comparable to New York City’s Times Square. The stores in the area immediately shuttered their doors to keep people safe from the commotion.

“Everybody was desperately searching for escape routes,” Pannell said.

Officers seem to have the area under control now, he added.

“Police have responded as if the incident is terrorist related. Armed and unarmed officers are on scene and dealing along with colleagues from British Transport Police,” Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

“At this stage police have not located any casualties,” the statement added.

Trains are bypassing the station while police investigate. The station is currently closed.

On Twitter, Metropolitan Police urged people to take shelter in a building if they were on Oxford Street.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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