A gunman pulled a high-powered rifle out of a bag and opened fire this morning at the Los Angeles International Airport, blasting his way through a security checkpoint and killing at least one TSA agent.
Passengers fled in all directions, spilling onto the tarmac as the chaos unfolded. The gunman made it deep into the terminal before authorities “engaged” him and contained the situation.
Multiple reports suggested the suspect may have been an off-duty TSA agent, but it’s now believed he was a ticketed passenger.
Here’s what we know so far about this breaking story.
1. ‘Eight to 10’ Shots Were Fired; There Are Multiple Victims
Terminal 3 was evacuated after all hell broke loose around 9:20 a.m. local time at the security checkpoint of Terminal 3.
The gunman opened fire outside the checkpoint, shot his way through and penetrated deep into the terminal.
Witnesses reported hearing eight to 10 shots fired.
A total of six people were hospitalized, several of them TSA agents. At least one TSA agent is confirmed dead.
#BREAKING UCLA: 3 male victims received. 2 suffered gunshot wounds. 1 critical, 2 fair. Gunshots received in “multiple areas” on 2 victims.
— Kenny Holmes NBC (@KHOLMESlive) November 1, 2013
Flight operations at LAX were “temporarily held” and road traffic surrounding the airport ground to a halt.
Other than arriving flights, flight operations have been temporarily held.
— LAX Airport (@LAX_Official) November 1, 2013
2. The Gunman, a Young White Male, Is in Custody (or Dead)
— Tim Williams (@realtimwilliams) November 1, 2013
The gunman was reportedly shot and apprehended or killed, depending on the report.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) November 1, 2013
LA Times describes the shooter as a young, “calm” white male:
LAX shooting witness: Shooter was young white male with a rifle-type gun, walking calmly through Terminal 3.
— L.A. Times: L.A. Now (@LANow) November 1, 2013
ABC Philadelphia reports the shooter has a “possible residence” in New Jersey.
Witnesses tell KTLA that the shooter was shouting while he was shooting.
Multiple ambulances arrived and left the scene. Emergency workers set up a triage area:
There are reports of a “high-powered rifle” involved in the shooting, a gunman dressed in camouflage and a box of ammunition:
CBS : Suspect was wearing camouflage. Large box of ammunition was found at LAX. (via @JohnMillerCBS)
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) November 1, 2013
This picture shows what appears to be a gun on the floor:
— Josh (@pascaljosh) November 1, 2013
3. LAPD Went on City-Wide Tactical Alert
According the LAPD Media-Relations handbook, Tactical Alert “is an announcement of the anticipated redistribution of on-duty officers.” It’s used in instances when extra officers are needed to control an emergency.
LAX and LAPD combined reportedly have the largest K-9 unit in the world.
4. A Reporter Compared the Scene to Columbine
Fox reporter Bill Reiter compared the scene to Columbine, with people franticly hiding underneath and behind furniture.
Tweets from the ground show passengers wandering around the tarmac at the airport after fleeing the gunfire.
— Carson Skinner (@carsonskinner) November 1, 2013
Twitter is flooded with images of chaos.
Something crazy is going down at LAX. People running everywhere. We just got evacuated. pic.twitter.com/pSdaB8VmsD
— Tory Belleci (@ToryBelleci) November 1, 2013
5. There Were Rumors of Multiple Gunmen
One witness reported three to four gunmen:
A witness saw shooting in ticketing area at LAX. Now hearing three or four gunman rushed area, but that’s unsubstantiated.
— Bill Reiter (@foxsportsreiter) November 1, 2013
Meanwhile, CBS reports suggested a second suspect is in custody, and witnesses talked about fears of a “gunman on the roof.”
The latest information from authorities is that there was just one gunman and the situation is under control.
Witness reports and video footage of people a man in handcuffs on the tarmac fueled the confusion. However, it’s common for police to detain multiple people in an emergency situation.