June 9, 2019 at 7:10 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Altercation by straight couple triggered ‘panic’ at DC Pride Parade
Cmdr. Guillermo Rivera speaks to reporters following the incident that caused the premature ending of the Capital Pride Parade on June 8, 2019. A police report indicates officers arrested Aftabjit Singh with possession of a BB gun and Melissa Duffy with assault on a police officer. (Washington Blade photo by Joey DiGuglielmo)

A gun scare in Dupont Circle Saturday night that brought D.C.’s annual Capital Pride Parade to an abrupt end and sent hundreds of parade spectators fleeing in panic appears to have been caused by a man who told police he pointed a BB gun at another individual who was assaulting his female “significant other,” according to a police report.

Both police and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser released statements shortly after the incident saying there was no evidence to indicate a gun was fired. But police said at least seven people were hospitalized for minor injuries sustained while running away from the scene, which witnesses described as a “stampede.”

One of two police reports related to the incident says police entered Dupont Circle about 7:20 p.m. Saturday after observing people fleeing in panic and witnesses told one of the officers identified as Officer B. Maio that they saw a man with a gun.

“While canvassing the south side of the park, Officer Maio was flagged down by a concerned citizen who pointed out Suspect 1 and stated he was the individual that had a gun in his bag,” the report says. “The concerned citizen also indicated a brown bag that was laying underneath a tree,” the report continues.

“Officer Maio observed Suspect 1 approaching the bag and conducted a stop,” the report says. “Upon observing the indicated bag, which was partially open, Officer Maio observed what appeared to be the body and trigger of a silver handgun,” says the report.

“Suspect 1 claimed he pulled out the gun on an unidentified individual who was hitting his significant other,” the report says, adding that Suspect 1 said the weapon was a BB gun.

D.C. police spokesperson Brianna Jordan told the Washington Blade Suspect 1 has been identified as Aftabjit Singh, 38, of no fixed address.

The report says Singh was arrested on the scene in Dupont Circle and charged with three gun related offenses, possession of a prohibited weapon, possession of a BB gun, and Carrying a Dangerous Weapon (Outside Home or Place of Business). The report says he was also charged with “Disorderly Conduct — Cause Unreasonable Fear.”

A separate police report says officers arrested a second person in Dupont Circle a short time later who identified herself as Singh’s “significant other” on a single charge of Assault on A Police Officer-Simple Assault.

Police spokesperson Jordan identified the second arrested person as Melissa Duffy, 43, of no fixed address.

The police report says officers made contact with Duffy, whom the report lists as Suspect 1, due to her significant other being arrested.

“Suspect 1 began to become irate and started to kick and scream towards officers,” the report says. “Suspect 1 kicked Victim 1 in the chest and right arm causing the listed injuries,” it says.

The report doesn’t elaborate further on the injuries or identify the officer who was injured other than to say, “all parties refused medical treatment.”

Jordan said Singh and Duffy were expected to appear in court on Monday for an arraignment. The reports say the two were taken to the Second District station after their arrests for processing.

A spokesperson for the Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes the annual Capital Pride Parade and festival, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment about the arrests. The annual Capital Pride Festival and concert on Pennsylvania Avenue near the U.S. Capitol took place as scheduled on Sunday.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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