When panic hit Lake Eola on July 4, she opened her home to help people hide

Fears of a shooting during the fireworks caused people to run

A woman who lives near Lake Eola, where a scare sent the crowd running in panic during the Fireworks at the Fountain event, found herself helping people hide.

ORLANDO, Fla. – A woman who lives near Lake Eola, where a scare sent the crowd running in panic during the Fireworks at the Fountain event, found herself helping people hide.

Cassidy Temple said a group of five people came to her door Monday night. She lives more than half a mile away from the lake.

“I could tell something was going on. It wasn’t a typical knock on the door,” Temple said.

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Temple was watching television at the time. She told News 6 she was unaware of the panic that had unfolded minutes before when she answered the door.

“One of them was in bare feet. You could tell that they had been running,” Temple said. “You could tell they were just inherently good kids that were scared. You could see the fear in their eyes.”

The encounter was captured on Temple’s Ring doorbell camera. In the video, you can hear a young woman explaining how they ran as far as they could when they thought shots were fired into the crowd. Orlando police is investigating what caused the confusion, and said they found no evidence of a shooting in the area.

Temple took the group in and brought them to her backyard where she says they sat for 31 minutes.

“They said, ‘We don’t have anything on us! We’re actually a church group. We are from Missouri, there’s a total of 77 of us here.’”

The group split up in the chaos. The five people who showed up at Temple’s front door were missing their car keys, cell phones and even their shoes.

“I kept insisting that (one of them) could have a pair of flip-flops, and she said, ‘No.’” Temple said. “She said, ‘I ran here in bare feet. I can certainly walk back and find my shoes.’”

Cell phone video taken closer to Lake Eola shows people running in a panic. In videos taken from balconies and shared with News 6, the crowd scatters below. Some sought shelter in nearby businesses, condos and apartments.

James Barr, who was visiting with his family from Ocala, said his 13-year-old daughter hid in bushes.

“It was pretty crazy,” Barr said. “It took a really long time for us to find her, so it was a pretty stressful day.”

Cassidy Temple said her street used social media to help reconnect people. Many of them posted on their neighborhood Facebook group to help find missing family members.

“One of our neighbors that we adore, her 7-year-old grandson got separated from their pack and he was missing for about 45 minutes,” Temple said.

Temple knew she had to help.

“Panic kind of breeds that kind of need, and we were just glad we were here,” Temple said.


About the Author:

Catherine, born and raised in Central Florida, joined News 6 in April 2022.