LAX LATEST: Death, shots, chaos at airport
LOS ANGELES — A suspected gunman was in custody following a shooting at Los Angeles airport that killed a TSA agent and wounded two other people. This is what AP reporters on the scene Friday are learning about the events unfolding:
UNION: SHOOTER NOT TSA AGENT
Tim Kauffman, a spokesman for American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 45,000 TSA screeners, says the airport shooter was not a TSA agent.
PARKING LOT SEARCH
Police tell KNX Radio that officers are looking at the hundreds of vehicles in the parking structure near Terminal 3 but weren’t sure how the shooter got to the airport.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says it has increased its airport patrols as a precaution in the wake of the LAX shooting. Chief Security Officer Joseph Dunne says the stepped-up patrols are not expected to affect flight operations.
BAM , BAM, BAM
Xavier Savant was waiting in the security line at the terminal where the shooting occurred and he and other passengers dropped to the floor in panic. He described it as a “bam, bam, bam” burst of gunfire.
“We just hit the deck. Everybody in the line hit the floor and shots just continued,” he said.
He said the shots subsided and people bolted through the metal detectors and ran into the terminal, eventually making their way out to the tarmac.
“My whole thing was to get away from him,” said Savant, an advertising creative director in Hollywood who was heading to New York City with his family.
Ben Rosen, 30, was sitting at the Starbucks in Terminal 3 eating oatmeal when he heard gunfire erupt and people start running in all directions and crouching on the floor.
Police arrived with guns drawn and shouted “This is not a drill, hands up,” he said. Everyone raised their hands and were led out of the terminal.
As they were led out they saw broken glass from a window that looked like it’d been shot out. Rosen left his bag behind.
“It was scary. I’ve never experienced anything like this before,” he said. “I definitely felt underprepared. In retrospect, you have all these fire drills in school but you don’t really have gunman drills.”
DISBELIEF IN TERMINAL
Grant Imahara of the Discovery show “Mythbusters” was in an airport lounge area when he heard gunfire in the terminal and saw police and terrified passengers react. “It was fairly tense and particularly after we heard the shots ring out, like ‘oh my God this is really happening,’” he said.
LAX Police Chief Patrick Gannon said actions of responding officers were heroic. “They did not hesitate, they went after this individual, they confronted this individual in our airport,” Gannon says.
START OF SHOOTING
Gannon says the gunman entered the terminal, pulled an assault rifle from a bag and began shooting at a screening checkpoint before entering the terminal. Officers took him into custody after a shootout. “As you can imagine, a large amount of chaos took place in this entire incident,” he said.
SEVEN PEOPLE TREATED
Interim Los Angeles Fire Chief Jim Featherstone says paramedics treated seven people at the scene, and six were taken to hospitals.
Gannon says there was a lone shooter who approached a TSA agent who was checking passenger documents and opened fire.
TSA AGENT KILLED
Tim Kauffman, a spokesman for the American Federation of Government Employees in Washington, confirmed that a TSA officer was killed in the incident at Los Angeles International Airport. He said the union’s information comes from their local officials in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says urges public to stay away from the airport for the time being.
Evacuated passengers were loaded onto buses by the dozens, while others decided to walk off the airport grounds.
People trailing rolling suitcases were seen on the normally quiet streets and sidewalks outside LAX.
Brian Livesay, 44, said when he arrived on a business trip from Atlanta the airport seemed unusually quiet. The film and TV production designer didn’t realize there was a problem until he saw heavily armed police on the airport beltway. He decided to walk the 3-or-so miles to the rental car facilities.
“If there was anything moving on four wheels besides a police car, I would be in a cab,” he said. “I have a room full of CBS executives waiting for me.”
Flights heading for Los Angeles, which had not yet taken off, were held at their gates by the Federal Aviation Administration. Others in the air — including three JetBlue flights from the East Coast — diverted to other airports.
Flight tracking site FlightAware.com said that as of 11 a.m. Pacific there were 12 flight cancelations and 132 flight delays in Los Angeles.
Travelers hoping to fly out are unable to reach Los Angeles airport because of road closures.
LOS ANGELES — A suspected gunman was in custody Friday following a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport that left multiple people wounded and disrupted flights nationwide.
Gunshots were reported at Terminal 3. Los Angeles police Officer Norma Eisenman said the conditions of the injured people were unknown.
She says the suspect also exchanged fire with airport police. The airport was being swept for precautionary measures and the bomb unit was on scene.
Airport staff evacuated travelers and flights were disrupted nationwide.
Television images showed two people being wheeled away by firefighters. Triage stations also were seen.
Witness Brian Keech told The Associated Press he heard “about a dozen gunshots” from inside a security gate at the terminal, which has been evacuated.
The Federal Aviation Administration said a “ground stop” was in effect for all flights heading to Los Angeles, meaning planes in any other airport in the country can’t take off for the city, although some flights already in the air were allowed to land.
LAX air traffic controller Michael Foote said some flights were still being allowed to depart.
Foote said his colleagues in the control tower saw passengers spilling from the terminal onto the tarmac, “evacuating the building, getting out as fast as they could.” Officers eventually corralled them.
Other travelers described a chaotic scene as airport security staff evacuated terminals, including onto the tarmac. Hundreds of people remained gathered outside next to airplanes as authorities investigated what happened.
“People started saying there’s a shooter, there’s a shooter,” said Natalie Morin, a senior at USC who was heading to San Francisco for a graduate school interview.
Emergency crews responded to a multi-patient incident, Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said.
Terminal 3 is home to Virgin America and other airlines.