At around 9:30am PST in Los Angeles Friday, a man—identified by law enforcement as Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23—entered LAX's Terminal 3, pulled a rifle out of his bag, and opened fire, LAX Police Chief Patrick Gannon said in a press conference Friday afternoon. NBC reported that the shooter, a U.S. citizen, injured seven, including three TSA agents, before police shot him. Police believe he was the only shooter. There may be two fatalities, including the gunman.
The shooter was a ticketed passenger entering the airport, according to a federal law enforcement official. He was a U.S. citizen in his 20s. His motives are still unclear.
“Sitting down, all of a sudden, literally just out of the blue, you hear a rumble in the background, and a couple of seconds later people are running at me,” said Vernon Cardenas, a 45-year-old West Hollywood resident, to the Los Angeles Times.
Brian Adamick, 43, saw a wounded TSA agent board a bus that arrived to help evacuate passengers. The agent told him, “I got shot, I’m fine.” He said he’d been shot before, and told passengers not to worry about him. “It looked like it was straight out of the movies,” said Adamick.
Bizarrely, among the jumble of information spread on Twitter was a hoax that former NSA chief Michael Hayden was shot and killed in the attack. The Globe and Mail ran with the story, then took down the post.
I was in the Virgin lounge upstairs. Saw everyone pour out of the terminal onto the tarmac. Then I heard shots fired outside.— Grant Imahara (@grantimahara) November 1, 2013
Virgin promptly locked the lounge doors. About ten minutes later, LAPD armed with automatic weapons arrived to secure the area.— Grant Imahara (@grantimahara) November 1, 2013
NBC is currently reporting that a man was able to get past security with a rifle before opening fire. At least four people have been sent to the hospital, the network said.
Witnesses interviewed on NBC’s live feed report the shooting happened at check-in, not past security. Nick Pugh, a witness, said people got down on the ground and crawled out the emergency exit. He ran down the tarmac and is on lockdown now in another terminal. He said he was briefly detained and cuffed by police with a few other men as they ran away from the airport, but was soon let go.
Pugh also said an airport employee told him they have caught the shooter.
Two victims shot by suspect in LAX reportedly using a rifle, reports @NBCNews— msnbc (@msnbc) November 1, 2013
More: Two victims shot by suspect in LAX reportedly using a rifle— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 1, 2013
Another person screencapped a photo from CNN that was quickly taken down, of a TSA agent being wheeled in a wheelchair outside the terminal with his head tipped back. On NBC’s feed, a woman was put into an ambulance with one shoe on.
NBC is now reporting the situation “has ended.”
A ground stop has been put in effect as of 12:16pm.
According to reports, ground stop now in effect at LAX after shooting in terminal.— LAX Airport (@LAX_Official) November 1, 2013
News organizations are reporting one or two shooters was at the scene.
KCBS TV reports two suspects were involved. #LAXShooting— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) November 1, 2013
BREAKING: Witness says shooter was young white male with a rifle-type gun, walking calmly through Terminal 3. #LAXShooting— Alcides Segui FOX 13 (@seguifox13) November 1, 2013
CBS : Suspect was wearing camouflage. Large box of ammunition was found at LAX. (via @JohnMillerCBS)— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) November 1, 2013
Update 1:45 ET: NBC reports a shooter is in custody. There are two to three victims. LAPD ensures no additional suspects.
Actor James Franco is grounded at LAX. He posted a selfie to Instagram, writing, "At #lax Some s**tbag shot up the place."
The Los Angeles Times has an eyewitness account:
Brian Adamick, 43, said he was getting ready to fly to Chicago for his brother’s wedding and was boarding a Spirit Airlines flight at Gate 32.
He said people were running through the terminal, away from a security area. Adamick said he went through an emergency exit downstairs onto the tarmac with several other passengers.
“While I was on the tarmac, I heard two gunshots from the same area where the people had been running and screaming,” he said.
A few minutes after he got outside, he said buses showed up to help evacuate passengers. He saw a wounded TSA agent board one of the buses. The man’s ankle was bloody: “it looked like it was straight out of the movies,” Adamick said.
The man, told him, “I got shot, I’m fine.” He told passengers not to worry about him and that he had been shot before, Adamick said.
This story is developing.
Photo via salim/Flickr