LAX shooting: Most terminals reopen; flights delayed

Some passengers were stuck on the tarmac for hours following a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday.
November 1, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hundreds of flights were affected by the shooting at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday.

Authorities say one TSA officer was killed and other TSA employees were wounded when a single shooter pulled an assault rifle out of a bag and opened fire at a screening checkpoint at 9:20 a.m. LAX police located the suspect, and there was an exchange of gunfire.

The suspect, identified as 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia, was taken into custody in critical condition, officials said.

All terminals, except for Terminal 3, were reopened to passengers around 4 p.m. Terminal 3 operations will be relocated to another terminal. Drivers were advised to avoid the area unless they have to be there.

Departing flights were temporarily held. Officials said about 746 flights were affected; 46 of those flights were diverted to other local airports. The rest were either held on the ground at LAX or their originating airports.

Some passengers were stuck on the tarmac for hours.

"Worst experience ever, stayed on the airplane for five hours straight," said passenger Jerrika George. "I feel nasty, ready for a bath."

Passenger Katlelyn Peacock was also stuck on an airplane on the tarmac. She said people got impatient.

"Children were walking up and down the aisles, because you just couldn't keep them entertained. It was just hard. It was just hard to keep anyone entertained," said Peacock.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a national hold for all arriving flights that have not yet departed from their originating airports to LAX. The hold was lifted at 4 p.m.

Airport officials said passengers arriving at LAX will be taken by bus to Parking Lot C on 98th Street and Sepulveda Boulevard, where they can get picked up.

Stranded travelers were seen pulling their luggage around outside of the airport. Some passengers who had already checked in their luggage, but didn't get on a plane yet scrambled to make other travel arrangements.

"We're trying to get a flight in maybe Long Beach, maybe even John Wayne Airport," said traveler Justice Kelly.

Several flights bound for LAX were diverted to Ontario International Airport, where security and staff were ready and waiting. From there, some passengers took buses back to LAX.

Terminal 3 is the last terminal on the north side of LAX. Airlines that operate out of the terminal include Allegiant Air, Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit and Virgin America. LAX is the third largest airport in the U.S.

Some airlines at all other terminals temporarily suspended departing flights because their passengers couldn't reach the terminals. Virgin America said its outgoing flights at LAX have been canceled for the evening.

Passengers should contact their airlines for the status of their flights. Stranded travelers who need a hotel room can call a help hotline at (888) 831-7176.

The American Red Cross said evacuees can go to a shelter location set up inside Tom Bradley International Terminal. Red Cross volunteers will be available to help those affected.


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