LOS ANGELES - A TSA employee is dead and several others have been shot and wounded at a checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Terminal 3 in what police call a "multi-patient incident."
LAX Airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon says the gunman approached a security checkpoint in Terminal 3 about 9:20 a.m., pulled a semi-automatic assault rifle from a bag and opened fire. The suspect shot his way past the screening area and moved a significant distance into the secure area of Terminal 3, where responding LAX Airport Police officers engaged him, shot and wounded the gunman and took him into custody.
"Earlier this morning, a shooting occurred at Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport. Multiple Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) were shot, one fatally. Additional details will be addressed by the FBI and local law enforcement who are investigating the shooting," the TSA said in a statement.
Gannon says police believe the gunman was acting alone, and that the shooting was limited to Terminal 3.
He added that the FBI is now taking the lead in the investigation, and will be aided by LAX Airport Police and the Los Angeles Police Department.
UCLA-Ronald Reagan Medical Center confirms it has received three male victims, one who is in critical condition and two listed as fair. The Airport Fire Chief says a total of seven people were injured, with six being transported to hospitals.
USA Today is reporting that a possible second suspect was taken into custody outside LAX terminal 2.
After receiving reports of a shooting at LAX police evacuated the terminal and surrounding streets.
Luke and Alexa Sieber of Green bay, Wis., were in line at an airport counter when they heard eight shots followed by another burst of 20.
"It was an automatic weapon," Luke Sieber, a 25-year-old consultant, said.
Dave Gassoway, of Minneapolis, and his friend just landed shortly after the shooting. They are visiting family and on their way to the UCLA football game Saturday afternoon.
Gassoway and the rest of the passengers had to stay on their Southwest Flight for about 30 minutes until it was safe to be shuttled to another part of the airport with other passengers who are stranded. He estimates more than 2,000 people are in the room waiting. Gassoway tells KARE 11 he hasn't been told when he might be able to leave the airport, but airport officials tell him and the rest of the passengers they are safe.
The LAX Airport Director says operations will be significantly impacted for the rest of the day, and that every flight out would be "significantly late."
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport says there is currently a ground stop on all flights to and from LAX on Twitter.
JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Virginia America and Virgin Australia are among the carriers that use Terminal 3 at LAX. Aerial pictures showed planes beginning to leave gates and taxi to runways shortly after 12:30 p.m. central standard time.
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