LAX

Hundreds Flee LAX Terminal in Panic After False Report of a Man With Gun

Los Angeles Airport Police Division officers were initially called to the area on reports of a possible active shooter at the terminal that caused dozens of people to flee the terminal onto the tarmac

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A report of a possible armed person inside Los Angeles International Airport led to evacuations from a terminal and grounded flights for about 50 minutes Thursday night.

Ultimately no shots were fired and no weapon was recovered, authorities said. Operations resumed after the scare, which appeared to stem from an altercation between two men who were detained by Los Angeles Airport Police Division officers

Officers were called about 7:30 p.m. to Terminal 1, according to an airport official. One of the two men apparently felt threatened, possibly believing the other had a weapon, said Lt. Karla Rodriguez, an airport police spokeswoman.

Elyse Craig and others hid in a closet after word spread of an active shooter. Authorities said there was no public safety threat.

“We closed the door and they were like what's going on? I was like, I don't know,” Craig said. “Everyone just said run. We just ran. And I didn't even grab my phone or anything.”

They stayed int he closet until they heard a knock on the door and someone gave the all clear. 

The reports caused about 300 people inside the airport to flee onto the tarmac. One of the two men detained remained in custody early Friday for a mental health evaluation, an LAX spokesman said. The other was released.

"All of a sudden, people started whipping around the corner, just running with fear and terror in their eyes, and I was like, 'what is happening, what's going on?' And they were like, 'there's an active shooter,'" said passenger Chantel Mohn.

Two people were injured during the evacuation and were treated at the scene by Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics. One of those injured was taken to a hospital with moderate injuries.

The reports prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to ground all flights at LAX, though an airport official said about 8:20 p.m. that flights on the south side of the airport were allowed to resume service.

"It's kind of like yelling 'fire' or something at a theater, it's the same thing here at the airport," Rodriguez said. "We take security very seriously."

The airport tweeted a little after 9 p.m. that all runways were open, though delays persisted in Terminal 1 during the night.

Transportation Security Administration personnel were called to the scene to help move people back to their terminal.

One of the men detained by police was released Thursday night and another was transported to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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