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Shooting and brawl at Minnesota State Fair triggers mass crowd panic, exodus, and early closure

ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - A person was shot during a brawl in the Midway section of the Minnesota State Fair Saturday night, triggering a mass panic and chaotic crowd rush out of the area, resulting in the early closure of the fairgrounds.

      The Minnesota State Fair Police Department issued a statement early Sunday saying that officers responded to a gunshot shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of Carnes Avenue and Liggett when the area was "heavily populated with fair guests and a large contingent of law enforcement." The statement said that later, officers located a victim with non-life threatening injuries, and paramedics took the victim to the hospital.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting with the investigation. Witnesses described seeing a fight involving multiple people at Cafe Caribe in the Midway, with police moving quickly to break it up. Ali Jo says she was in Cafe Caribe when she saw a commotion and looked over to see a group of about three people fighting. As people started to run, she noticed her eyes burning.

She believes it was tear gas, though says an officer later told her it was pepper spray. "A fog overtook the intersection, and you could hear echoes of people coughing and gagging, everyone was covering their nose and mouth with their shirts and sweatshirts," she told FOX 9. "There was a shift, people were running away, and then people just started booking out of there. It all happened so quick… all I knew is that I just wanted to get away from there," she added. One fairgoer who declined to be interviewed on the record told FOX 9 she heard three gunshots.

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