Multiple victims in shooting at L.A. airport; suspected gunman held
By Tim Reid and Dana Feldman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A gunman opened fire with an assault rifle in a terminal of Los Angeles International airport on Friday, killing a Transportation Security Agent and injuring at least six other people before he was shot and captured, authorities said on Friday.
The incident prompted scenes of chaos at the airport, which halted departing flights and evacuated the terminal. Streets surrounding the airport were also shut down.
"An individual came into Terminal 3 of this airport, pulled an assault rifle out of a bag and began to open fire in the terminal," Patrick Gannon, chief of the Los Angeles Airport Police said at a press conference.
A U.S. Transportation Security Administration spokesperson said in a tweet that one of its agents had been killed in the shooting and another was wounded. The tweet was later deleted.
Earlier, the Los Angeles Times and ABC News reported that an agent had been killed, citing law enforcement.
A Los Angeles fire department spokesman said seven people were hurt and that six of them were taken to area hospitals.
Los Angeles police spokeswoman Officer Norma Eisenman said a suspect had been taken into custody and was believed to be the only one.
Three male victims hurt in the incident were taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where one was listed in critical condition and two others in fair condition, said Mark Wheeler, a spokesman for the hospital.
The condition of the other victims or the gunman was not immediately clear.
Passenger Robert Perez told a local CBS affiliate that airport security agents had come through the terminal shouting that a man had a gun.
"I heard popping and everybody dropped to the ground," Perez said.
Alex Neumann told cable network CNN that he was in an area inside the airport past a security checkpoint when he heard loud noises and screaming and saw people running in a scene that amounted to mayhem.
"We were at the food court and all of a sudden I hear a big commotion and people started running. People were running and people getting knocked down," Neumann said, adding that he heard screams. "Mayhem is the best way of describing it."
Television images on cable network CNN showed at least one person being loaded into one of several ambulances at the scene, and passengers were seen being evacuated from the area.
Footage showed emergency responders setting up what appeared to be a triage area outside an airport terminal, and outgoing flights were halted.
"The general public is being held back... Other than arriving flights, flight operations have been temporary held," airport spokeswoman Katherine Alvarado said in an emailed statement.
Airport police and airport officials would not offer any additional information.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the incident and White House officials are in touch with law enforcement officials on the ground, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.