There was no lively shooter, airport officers mentioned.
A passenger by accident discharged a gun on the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Worldwide Airport Saturday, airport officers mentioned, inflicting panic and sending vacationers onto the tarmac on one of many busiest journey weekends of the 12 months.
The incident occurred round 1:30 pm native time on the safety screening space, the airport mentioned in an update on Twitter.
“There’s not an lively shooter,” the airport said. “There is no such thing as a hazard to passengers or staff.”
A passenger by accident discharged the gun on the principal checkpoint, TSA mentioned in an announcement to ABC Information.
Throughout a bag search, the X-ray recognized a prohibited merchandise, TSA mentioned.
The transportation safety officer “suggested the passenger to not contact the property, and as he opened the compartment containing the prohibited merchandise, the passenger lunged into the bag and grabbed a firearm, at which level it discharged,” TSA mentioned. “The passenger then fled the realm, operating out of the airport exit.”
The suspect, recognized by police as 42-year-old Kenny Wells, remains to be on the run. A warrant is out for his arrest on expenses of carrying a hid weapon at an airport, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and reckless conduct, authorities mentioned.
Three individuals sustained minor accidents, doubtless in the course of the airport evacuation, a TSA spokesperson mentioned. Two individuals reported shortness of breath and one other fell within the airport’s atrium, police mentioned.
Atlanta Police Division was on website investigating the incident.
About two hours after the discharge, the airport was given an “all-clear” to renew regular operations, airport officers said.
The taking pictures prompted chaos and confusion. Movies taken by vacationers confirmed the panicked moments after the discharge, with individuals operating out of the terminal. Different vacationers could possibly be seen huddled mendacity on the bottom.
Vacationers reported being caught on the tarmac or in baggage declare after the incident, Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB reported.
TSA mentioned its officers have detected greater than 450 firearms on the Atlanta airport’s checkpoints up to now this 12 months.
“This incident underscores the significance of checking private belongings for harmful objects earlier than leaving for the airport,” TSA mentioned in an announcement. “Firearms, significantly loaded firearms, introduce an pointless danger at checkpoints, don’t have any place within the passenger cabin of an airplane, and signify a really expensive mistake for the passengers who try to board a flight with them.”
The incident occurred throughout what’s shaping as much as be the busiest journey weekend because the begin of the pandemic because of Thanksgiving — on the busiest airport in america.
Transportation Safety Administration officers screened 2,242,956 individuals at airport safety checkpoints nationwide Friday — the “highest checkpoint quantity since passenger quantity tanked in early 2020 because of the pandemic,” TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said.
ABC Information’ Victoria Arancio and Joshua Hoyos contributed to this report.