A gunmen with a semi-automatic weapon opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, killing a federal security agent and wounding six other people, officials said.
The gunman has been identified by law enforcement officials as 23-year-old Paul Ciancia, U.S. Congress woman Loretta Sanchez told CNN. He is now in custody, according to the Associated Press.
Los Angeles police Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger said the LA airport shooting suspect apparently was injured following an exchange of gunfire with officers.
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center told the Associated Press that there were “three male victims from the LAX Airport shootings. One arrived in critical condition and two are listed in fair condition.”
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 incidents disrupted flights nationwide, a police officer told AP.
“The general public is being held back at law enforcement bock. Other than arriving flights, flight operations have been temporary held,” airport spokeswoman Katherine Alvarado said in an emailed statement.
Flight tracking site FlightAware.com said that as of 11 a.m. local time, there were 12 flight cancelations and 132 flight delays in Los Angeles, according to the Associated Press.
The shooting took place at the airport’s terminal 3.
The gunman entered the terminal, pulled an assault rifle from a bag and began shooting, then fired more shots at a screening checkpoint, where a security agent was checking passenger documents, before entering the secure area of the terminal, Patrick Gannon, Los Angeles Airport Police Chief told the Associated Press.
“As you can imagine, a large amount of chaos took place in this entire incident,” Gannon said. Witness Brian Keech said he heard “about a dozen gunshots” from inside a security gate at the terminal.
The Federal Aviation Administration said a “ground stop” was in effect for all flights heading to Los Angeles, meaning planes in any other airport in the country can’t take off for the city. Some flights already in the air were allowed to land.
LAX air traffic controller Michael Foote said some flights were still being allowed to depart.
Foote said his colleagues in the control tower saw passengers spilling from the terminal onto the tarmac, “evacuating the building, getting out as fast as they could.”
Other travelers described a chaotic scene as airport security staff evacuated terminals, including onto to the tarmac. Hundreds of people remained gathered outside next to airplanes.
“People started saying there’s a shooter, there’s a shooter,” said Natalie Morin, who was heading to San Francisco for a graduate school interview.
Terminal 3 is home to Virgin America and other airlines.
(With AP and Reuters)