LA police: LAX shooter reports unfounded; terminals cleared
(CNN) — Los Angeles Airport police have confirmed that reports of shots fired in the facility were a false alarm as the airport authority confirms that all terminals have been cleared and operations are restarting.
Passengers are being re-screened for security and are re-entering the terminal buildings.
“Report of shooting at LAX proven to be LOUD NOISES only. No shots fired; no injuries. Investigation continues to locate source,”Andy Neiman, Commanding Officer of LAPD Media Relations said in a tweet.
The official LAX Airport Twitter account also posted that a Zorro-costumed individual had been detained by airport police. It’s not clear if the two incidents are related.
A statement released by LAX said that initial reports of an active shooter in Terminal 8 meant that “passengers in several LAX terminals self-evacuated onto the tarmac and rushed through federal security screening without being properly screened.”
The FAA issued a ground stop at the airport due to a security situation, according to the regulatory body’s website. The ground stop lasted only 30 minutes and was lifted 1:00 a.m. EDT.
Some of the airlines serving LAX reported as many as 23 flights, including four international flights, diverted to other airports during the ground-stop. Twelve of those flights diverted to Ontario International Airport. At least 68 arriving flights to LAX have been reported delayed although none were reported canceled.
No vehicles are being allowed into the Central Terminal Area, but vehicles are being allowed to leave the restricted area. Traffic congestion around the Central Terminal Area continued through the night as a result of access restrictions.
Police searched the airport following unconfirmed reports of a shooting at the facility. “All precautions being taken to ensure safety of public. Remain calm. Thank you for your cooperation,” a tweet from Los Angeles Airport Police Department read.
Law enforcement officials continue to investigate the source of the initial report.
Sunday night’s shutdown in Los Angeles closely mirrored a situation at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport two weeks ago, when reports of shots fired Sunday night inside Terminal 8 shut down the airport.
Two people reported hearing what they thought were shots fired, law enforcement sources said at the time. Police went floor to floor to clear the airport and ensure there was nothing to be found, a source said. Surveillance video from inside the terminal did not show any shooting.
Police from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey evacuated the terminal to be cautious, spokesman Joe Pentangelo said. There were no injuries or arrests, although officials said it’s possible that hoax 911 calls and word of mouth led to the panic.