Rumored Threat at Fireworks Show May Have Originated With Police

Police said none of the information was ever verified and it was just a rumor

In Rumford, Maine, the annual Fourth of July fireworks show has been overshadowed by the threat of a mass shooting.

According to Rumford Police, a rumor started to circulate in town and on social media that someone had threatened the fireworks show at Hosmer Field, which typically draws thousands of people.

"It was the buzz over the whole night," said Gary Dolloff, who attended the fireworks with his family. "Every kid was stopping me: 'Did you hear about the threat? Someone is getting shot.'"

Rumford Police Sgt. Tracey Higley said the department received calls and questions about the rumor throughout the day.

"A number of people did leave [the fireworks show] and I've heard a number of people chose not to attend because they heard this," said Sgt. Higley.

He said the police department investigated the threat and found it was not credible. He cannot say where the rumor originated from, but said his department started receiving calls after another officer from a different department reported something "suspicious" in a local pizza shop.

Higley said that officer observed three Muslim-looking people ordering pizza, asking if there were any big events going on that weekend.

"Based on their appearance and based on the question they were asking ... he felt they were suspicious in nature," said Higley, who did not identify the officer, the department he worked for or the pizza shop where it happened.

Hours after that officer's report to Rumford Police, talk around town and on social media was about a possible threat to the fireworks show.

"It started with one story, and then everybody's Facebook blew up," said Dolloff, who was upset to hear about the incident in the pizza shop.

"It's ridiculous to pinpoint anybody," he said. "I mean, do I look like a Christian? What's the 'look?'"

Rumford Police said it's unfortunate that a rumor impacted anyone's experience at the fireworks show, but they're glad the officer came forward.

"It would always be better to know ahead of time and rule [a threat] out, rather than not say anything and then have something happen," said Higley.

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