At least six people were hospitalized after a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport Friday morning, and a suspect was in custody after a massive police response.
A massive police and emergency response was continuing at LAX Friday morning after multiple people were shot. (Credit: KTLA)
A gunman pulled an assault rifle from a bag on the lower level of Terminal 3 and began shooting bout 9:20 a.m., proceeding upstairs through the security checkpoint and deep into the gate area, authorities said.
Police responded and opened fire, when an “officer-involved shooting” occurred, according to airport police Chief Patrick Gannon.
“There is only one individual that is responsible for this…as the active shooter that was in our terminal,” Gannon said.
Seven people were treated on scene, six of whom were hospitalized, Los Angeles interim fire Chief Jim Featherstone said.
One person — a man approximately 40 years of age — was dead following the shooting, according to Craig Harvey of the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner.
At a news conference about 2 1/2 hours after the shooting, authorities would not confirm reports that a TSA agent was killed or provide details about the shooter, whom they described as working alone.
“At this point, we do not see any additional threats at the airport,” said David Bowditch, the special agency in charge of the FBI, which was leading the investigation.
Witnesses described a chaotic scene at the airport, where flights were grounded and passengers moved onto the tarmac amid a massive emergency response.
“There was a guy downstairs who started shooting. One guy fell down. Panic erupted,” said a passenger and witness who gave his name as Alex.
The shooter appeared to have a rifle, said Alex, who witnessed the incident while in a security line on the second level of Terminal 3.
Officers who had trained for that “exact scenario” responded quickly after the suspect fire shots and passed into Terminal 3, Gannon said.
“Unfortunately, it involved an officer-involved shooting,” Gannon said. “But that’s what needed to be done in that particular situation, and that was heroic.”
A Transportation Security Administration agent was shot, a spokesperson for the agency told KTLA shortly after 10 a.m., but authorities at the news conference did not confirm that.
The TSA agent was killed, the Los Angeles Times reported. Gannon and other officials would not confirm that.
An image posted from inside Terminal 3 showed a rifle on the ground in a gate area along with what appeared to be bloody clothing.
Earlier, a video posted on Instagram showed an initial announcement being made about the shooting as travelers waited inside a terminal.
Witness Nick Pugh said he was in Terminal 3 when he heard eight or 10 shots close by and everyone around dropped to the ground. He ran through an emergency exit onto the tarmac.
“Police came rushing toward me, I don’t know, maybe thinking I was a suspect, and put me down on the ground and handcuffed me,” Pugh said. “They were worked up. Anybody could be a suspect, so I don’t blame them.”
The Federal Aviation Administration had grounded flights, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed on Twitter, but a spokesman for the FAA said no firm information was available.
Officers could be seen with guns drawn, and one person could be seen being placed into an ambulance. Dozens of emergency vehicles, including rescue ambulances were on scene.
A citywide tactical alert was scaled down to LAPD’s West Bureau only, according to LAPD on Twitter.
Travelers were being moved quickly along a terminal, aerial video showed. Passengers were deplaning, aerial video showed.
The California Highway Patrol cautioned people to stay away from the area and said that Century Boulevard was closed.