Did “Zorro” do it? It was chaos at LAX when announcements of an active shooter spread throughout the terminals and caused a massive evacuation.
After the evacuation, Los Angeles International Airport authorities detained a suspicious man. He was wearing an all-black, Zorro-like outfit.
Individual in Zorro costume has been detained by @LAAirportPD— LAX Airport (@flyLAXairport) August 29, 2016
“Zorro” also had a plastic sword in his possession at the time of his detention
It hasn’t been confirmed whether or not this man had anything to do with the LAX shooting alarm. However, Los Angeles Airport police are investigating the situation further.
Before things got really crazy - a man in a Zorro costume with a plastic sword was arrested. pic.twitter.com/COdNEIb1pL— sam macon (@sayczars) August 29, 2016
Around 9 p.m., August 28, LAX police warned the public via Twitter.
“Police searching LAX after reports. All precautions being taken to ensure safety of public. Remain calm. Thank you for your cooperation.”
They mentioned that the shooting was unconfirmed at the time. However, the evacuation was ordered for the safety of all concerned.
LAX spokeswoman Alicia Hernandez mentioned that passenger had self-evacuated the airport. There was no official order to evac by police authorities, she says.
That’s fight or flight, right? Generally, when hearing unwanted gunfire, innocent bystanders will attempt to flee the area to avoid becoming shooting victims.
No official order was needed. All it took was common sense.
At this point, no confirmation of shooting can be verified. @LAAirportPD working to confirm reports.— LAX Airport (@flyLAXairport) August 29, 2016
The LAX shooting scare increased airport security, which was not a surprise.
“All terminals have been cleared and passengers are proceeding through federal security screening in all terminals,” according to Los Angeles International Airport.
According to NBC News, LAX began allowing passengers back into the facility around 11 p.m., said another airport spokeswoman, Nancy Suey Castles.
LAX repeatedly thanked its guests for their patience during the situation. The airport authority mentioned that a communication system was used for the first time.
“Airport Ops employed for 1st time LA County Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system to distribute safety msgs to cellphones w/in 5 mile LAX radius,” stated LAX.
NBC News reports that 911 calls came in from terminals 4, 7, and 8 when LAX passengers heard what they assumed was gunfire.
Even NBC’s Lester Holt was caught up in the chaos at LAX.
Arriving at LAX off flight when people started pouring out of term 4 onto Tarmac. Security said "shots fired. Run!" Now in vehicle on taxiwy— Lester Holt (@LesterHoltNBC) August 29, 2016
Witness tells me she heard "pops" in lax term 4. Others say they just heard "run!" Those evacuated to Tarmac just allowed back in.— Lester Holt (@LesterHoltNBC) August 29, 2016
LAX Is Better Safe Than Sorry?
However, after Los Angeles police conducted a sweep of the facility during their investigation, they reported that there was no shooting.
The passengers only heard “loud noises,” said a police spokesperson.
Nevertheless, it was quite the experience for everyone involved.
Corey Rosenbusch, a layover passenger, was awaiting his next flight in a terminal club. He said the lights suddenly shut off, and airport staff told them to shelter themselves within the club area.
According to NBC News, Corey told the Associated Press that several people started searching social media to find news about what was happening at the airport. And that’s when they saw there was an active shooter alert for LAX.
The source reports that Los Angeles police conducted two sweeps of LAX. One of the sweeps included a K-9 unit as well.
This Has Happened Before
All in all, the public’s reaction was rational, given that an actual LAX active shooter opened fire in 2013.
Paul Anthony Ciancia was responsible for the LAX shooting during that year. He shot and killed a TSA officer while injuring two others, according to a source. The source mentions that Ciancia “pulled a.223-caliber M&P-15” from his bag and fired upon these individuals at “point blank range.”
Gerardo Hernandez was the officer who was killed in the 2013 LAX shooting. He was the first officer killed in the line of duty in the agency’s history, reports NBC News.
Please join TSA in observing 10 seconds of silence at 9:20 AM PT in honor of TSA's fallen officer Gerardo Hernandez. pic.twitter.com/Tkk4POcVqO— TSAmedia_Lorie (@TSAmedia_Lorie) November 1, 2015
Overall, it was a crazy scene at LAX on August 28.
“Los Angeles International Airport said the departures and arrival areas of the central terminal area were closed amid the chaos; around 23 flights were diverted during a 30-minute ground stop,” said the source.
[Photo by Joel Ryan/Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP Images]