San Francisco Pride event ends abruptly after pepper spray fired into crowd

Some San Francisco Pride events ended abruptly Sunday night after someone sprayed pepper spray into the crowd – many had originally thought it was gunshots.

The confusion and fear was reported about 5:30 p.m. at the Pride festival near 7th and Market Streets.

Police could find no evidence of bullets or a shooting. 

San Francisco Pride organizers sent out a statement saying someone had sprayed Mace near the main stage.

"Although no one was harmed, we know it was not a pleasant experience," the statement read. 

As a result, the performance that was going on at the time was cut short.

Police stayed on scene while people exited the area.

MORE: San Francisco Pride weekend a mix of 'joy and rage'

This was San Francisco’s 52nd annual Pride parade. It was the first in-person parade since before the pandemic.

The rest of the day's events were peaceful. 

"To not have it for a couple of years because of COVID and then to have it this year has been amazing," said Tae Wallace who lives in the East Bay.

"It’s basically our Super Bowl," said Gianna Demaria. "And I say that because it’s the one time we can really feel like our true selves for lack of a better but after the last two years it has been so difficult."

In the Castro, there were parties, music, and a sea of rainbow colors.

The largest rainbow of all was an installation by the arts nonprofit "Illuminate" that starts at the Ferry Building and shines 4.1 miles up Market Street.

The artwork is called "Welcome" and represents San Francisco’s history.

"It really represents San Francisco in a powerful way," said Illuminate founder Ben Davis. "The Ferry Building is the way everyone entered San Francisco for generations, going through the Port and walking up Market Street. And Gilbert Baker’s flag a century later in the 1960s becomes a symbol of welcoming folks with the full spectrum of colors."