Police responded to a chaotic scene Sunday night at Los Angeles International Airport, known as LAX, after receiving multiple reports of a shooting inside one of the terminals, officials say.
No injuries have been reported and authorities say was a false alarm. But hundreds of people were evacuated out of the airport’s buildings, roads around LAX were closed down and flights were delayed as a result. Videos from the scene captured the panic as word of an “active shooter” spread around the airport.
The Los Angeles Airport Police tweeted that the reports of an active shooter were “unconfirmed.”
The airport said police have not found any evidence of shots being fired, but an investigation was still underway.
The incident was first reported just before 9 p.m. local time.
This is a breaking story and will be updated as more information becomes available. Here is what we know so far:
1. The LAPD Said the Incident Was Caused by ‘Loud Noises’
The Los Angeles Police Department said the incident was a false alarm caused by “loud noises only,” not a shooting.
The reports of shots fired came in terminals 4, 7 and 8, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Yahoo Finance reporter JP Mangalindan, who is at the airport, tweeted that the incident may have been centered around a baggage area inside one of the terminals.
NBC’s Lester Holt was also at the scene and tweeted about the shooting reports:
The Los Angeles Police Department told CBS News the reports of a shooter came from at least two 911 callers. They did not provide any other details about the calls.
Police said the investigation is ongoing.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a “ground stop” because of the security situation, ABC News reports.
Traffic was also heavy in the area of the airport:
The ground stop was to be in place until at least 10 p.m. local time.
“Passengers are advised to contact their airlines for flight status,” the airport tweeted.
2. A Man Dressed in a Zorro Costume Was Detained During the Chaos
During the chaos Sunday night, a man dressed in a Zorro costume, and possibly holding a fake sword, was detained, LAX said.
It is not clear if the arrest caused the reports of shots fired. One person who was at the airport said police drawing their guns while detaining “Zorro” may have caused the panic.
The man has not been identified and it is not known if he is facing charges.
3. Hundreds of People Were Evacuated From Terminals, While Others Were Kept in Planes
The situation at the airport quickly became chaotic as people were being evacuated from buildings, some onto the tarmac. Others said they were hiding inside the airport.
Photos and videos from the scene showed hundreds of people spilling out from the airport’s terminals.
Others said they were not allowed to leave their planes after landing, including Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd:
One Twitter user said he ran after hearing about an “active shooter.”
Bags were left scattered around the terminals:
The airport tweeted that some areas are shut down, saying, “Upper/Departures & Lower/Arrivals levels of Central Terminal Area (CTA) closed. Pls check w/ airlines if heading to LAX.”
By about 9:40 p.m. local time, some people at the airport tweeted they were being allowed back inside the terminals they had been evacuated from.
4. Police Said They Were Searching Every Terminal Before Allowing People Back Inside
Los Angeles Airport Police tweeted that a search was ongoing and urged people to remain calm.
The airport said on Twitter police are searching every terminal, and will allow people to return after the all-clear is given in each building.
5. A Report of Shots Fired Caused Panic at New York’s JFK Airport Earlier This Month
A report of shots fired, which turned out to be false, caused panic at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York earlier this month in a similar situation to Sunday night’s incident.
There were no shots fired during that August 14 situation, which may have been caused by people clapping and making noise while watching the Olympics at a restaurant in one of the terminals.
Officials have called for a review of security procedures at New York’s airports after reports of confusion among responding NYPD officers and the Port Authority Police, who oversee JFK and LaGuardia Airports.
“The whole incident was unfortunate, but actually we can learn from these situations,” Governor Andrew Cuomo told the New York Times. “I’m putting together a multiagency team of state officials who will then review the response to see how we can make it better.”
Investigators are also working to sort out what caused the reports of gunfire that led to the panic, the Times reports.
Read more about that at the link below:
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