A ticketed passenger wielding a semiautomatic weapon opened fire at a Los Angeles International Airport security checkpoint and then proceeded into the airport’s Terminal 3, where he continued shooting until he was confronted by police, who then shot him, the Los Angeles Times is reporting.
Patrick Gannon, the LAX police chief, said the gunman entered Terminal 3 at 9:20 AM. He pulled an assault rifle out of his bag and began firing. He moved into the screening area and continued shooting, Gannon said. He got past the checkpoint and moved further into the terminal.
Authorities tracked him down and shot him near a Burger King.
Vernon Cardenas, 45, of West Hollywood said he was at the airport on his way to Philadelphia when the shooting occurred.
“Sitting down, all of a sudden, literally just out of the blue, you hear a rumble in the background and a couple of seconds later, people are running at me,” said Cardenas, who does casting for the Fox television show “MasterChef.” He described the scene as “mayhem,” with couples crying and parents who couldn’t find their children.
The Times and other media initially reported the gunman was or might have been a Transportation Security Administration employee, but law enforcement has now clarified they don’t think the gunman ever worked for TSA.
Furthermore, the shooter is now said to be alive and in critical condition… he was previously said to have been killed. It just goes to show how early reporting about a tragedy like this can be laden with misinformation.
One TSA worker was killed by the gunman, and half a dozen other individuals were reportedly wounded, including several TSA agents.
The shooting has prompted flight cancellations and a halt to normal operations at LAX as authorities try to stitch together what happened. Some flights were rerouted to LA/Ontario International Airport, which is over fifty-six miles away. All flights were temporarily grounded in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.
The White House said President Obama had been informed of the incident and was monitoring developments. The FBI has been put in charge of the investigation.
If the shooter survives, perhaps we’ll be able to find out more about his motives (assuming the shooter was a male). Regardless, it’s very sad that once again, senseless gun violence has claimed an innocent life and left others wounded.