The Capital Pride Parade was the scene of a frenzied panic after someone informed police that there was a man with a gun as others believed shots were fired into the crowd. Understandably, this led to people assuming that there was a mass shooting incident that has become common place in the United States.
“As the officers were going to that scene, there was a crowd of people running away from it. Some of the individuals said there was a man with a gun and that someone had fired shots,” said Metropolitan Police Commander Guillermo Rivera.
The incident occurred shortly after Cheer DC had finished their performance at the parade. As the squad was walking home, they found themselves in the crowd of hundreds of people who were fleeing the scene in a panic. However, the members of Cheer DC quickly sprang into action as they ran and lead others to safety into a nearby parking garage. Cheer DC member Crystal Konz shouting “Get In here! Get in here now!” as she held the parking garage door open for panicked bystanders to flee to safety. Konz and her squad mates were then grabbing people to bring them inside.
One of the people at the scene was reporter Victoria Sanchez who had been covering the Capital Pride Parade and caught the entire moment on camera. Konz and her teammates are seen on camera ushering people in, even shouting at Sanchez herself to get inside. In an interview with Sanchez later on; Konz reflected on the moment during an interview as part of her coverage for the story… “I feel like I wanted to grab your arm and be like, ‘Come on!’” She told the reporter. “Honestly, every time I look at the video, every time I read the stories, the articles, I still get really emotional about it because it’s not what happened, it’s what could have happened. They did find a BB gun, it’s could have been a pistol, it could have been an active shooter. It could have been a bombing. It could have been a semi-automatic weapon. It could have been any number of things. We were already prepared for that. We already knew that was a reality for us and we were prepared for any sort of situation to occur.”
The incident started after a man had pulled out a BB gun against an unidentified person he believed had been hitting on his significant other. The police investigating the incident believe that no shots were fired, however the man was arrested for possession of a prohibited weapon, possession of a BB gun and carrying a dangerous weapon.
Despite the potential danger, the team continued to help people and showed courage and bravery in their leadership during the terrifying ordeal. With many people calling Konz and her teammates heroes for their actions in helping others.
“To be kind in the face of fear, I think that’s just beautiful. I don’t know if it’s heroic, but it’s beautiful. It goes against human nature and it’s everything that makes me proud of this organization,” said Hayley Dingerdissen, Cheer DC member.
“I don’t think it’s heroic. I think that you do what you need to do,” said Konz.
Cheer DC is a member of Pride Cheerleading Association of which both organizations strive “to support people living with life-challenging conditions in the LGBTQ community and beyond.” This is achieved through their hard work in fundraising efforts “to utilize the positivity of cheerleading to elevate acceptance and equality within our communities.” Cheer DC is very active within their local communities as well as at national and international LGBTQI sports events.
By Dirk Smith