HOWELL, N.J. - A man who set off fireworks near a movie theater as his friend made a marriage proposal created panic among moviegoers who mistook the fireworks for gunshots, leading to 911 calls and an evacuation, authorities said.
Howell Township police responded to the Xscape Theater around 6 p.m. Wednesday and soon learned the theater manager had confronted a man who had lighted fireworks outside another business near the theater, authorities said.
The remnants of the fireworks were located, and it was determined that no shots had been fired.
A 23-year-old Lakewood man told police he had set off the fireworks as part of his friend's marriage proposal at the other business.
Credit: Howell Township Police Department
While noting there was no intent to cause panic at the theater, a post on the Howell police Facebook page stated that "obviously this was a very poor decision rather than an overt act."
The Lakewood man was charged with a fireworks infraction and disorderly conduct.
No injuries were reported.