(CNN Newsource) – Loud bangs caused a scare at a New Jersey movie theater, sending moviegoers running for safety.
Turns out, it was just part of a man’s grand proposal to his girlfriend.
Howell Township Police body cam footage shows the mass panic as police search the Xscape Movie Theatre with guns drawn after reports of gunshots.
Florence Pittius and her husband, Albert, were 30 minutes into their movie when their heard “popping.”
“We heared pop pop pop pop. People started screaming, get down, get down, run. We started — the whole theater got up and started running all over the place,” said Florence Pittius.
Others called 911, but, turns out, there was not a shooter.
Video shows 23-year-old Nathan Sanders, of Lakewood, set fireworks off and run across the street.
After he jets, you can see the explosions.
Police say he set the large illegal mortar fireworks off while a friend was proposing marriage at the neighboring Climb Zone in celebration.
“Definitely not a smart decision to make, especially near a movie theate. We captured him pretty quickly due to eyewitnesses. We were able to identify him and arrest him. He was very apologetic,” said Howell Township Police Chief Andrew Kudric.
Sanders has been charged criminally and released from custody.
After news outlets knocked on his door, his father answered, calling the situation a misunderstanding.
“We’re very thankful for the diligence and the dedication of the Howell police.”
Police says people did the right thing by calling for help and running out of the enclosed space.
“A horrible thing to have to worry about when you just go to relax and enjoy a movie,” said Pittius.
The Pittius’ say they always look for the exits when sitting down for a movie, but never thought they would find themselves using them for an emergency, let alone one that involved fireworks.
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