x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Gunman causes chaos at Los Angeles airport

Flights disrupted and passengers evacuated after gunman opens fire in Terminal 3 of Los Angeles airport.

Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck talks with other responders at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday after shots were fired in Terminal 3, prompting authorities to evacuate the terminal and stop flights headed for the city from taking off from other airports. Reed Saxon / AP Photo
Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck talks with other responders at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday after shots were fired in Terminal 3, prompting authorities to evacuate the terminal and stop flights headed for the city from taking off from other airports. Reed Saxon / AP Photo

LOS ANGELES // A gunman with a semi-automatic weapon shot three people, killing a federal security agent, at the Los Angeles airport yesterday, police said. A suspect was in custody after the incident, which disrupted flights nationwide.

Police said the unidentified suspect was injured following an exchange of gunfire with officers.

The Los Angeles Airport police chief, Patrick Gannon, said the gunman pulled what he described as an “assault rifle” from a bag and began firing. “As you can imagine, a large amount of chaos took place in this entire incident,” he said.

Some passengers were evacuated, while others were locked down in airport restaurants and lounges. The airport was being swept for precautionary measures, and the bomb unit was on scene.

Tim Kauffman, a spokesman for the American Federation of Government Employees in Washington, confirmed that a Transportation Security Administration officer was killed.

He said the union’s information came from their local officials in Los Angeles.

The gunshots were reported at Terminal 3, which is home to Virgin America and other airlines.

The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center said it received “three male victims from the LAX Airport shootings. One arrived in critical condition and two are listed in fair condition.”

Air traffic was affected nationwide as the Federal Aviation Administration grounded flights that had not yet departed for Los Angeles. Others already in the air were diverted to other airports.

Travellers hoping fly out were unable to reach Los Angeles airport because of road closures.

Los Angles is a major gateway for flights to Asia, Australia and New Zealand. The shooting occurred just before a large bank of flights arrived from Sydney, Tokyo, Beijing and other cities across the Pacific Ocean. Domestically, among the largest cities served are San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York.

* Associated Press