Marriage-proposal fireworks cause panic, theater evacuation

Authorities say a man set off fireworks near a New Jersey movie theater as his friend made a marriage proposal and created panic among moviegoers who mistook them for gunshots

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.

The Lakewood man was charged with a fireworks infraction and disorderly conduct.

No injuries were reported.