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LAX shooting suspect in custody; TSA officer killed

First Published      Last Updated Nov 02 2013 09:28 am
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Los Angeles resident Jennifer Chan was in Terminal 3 at the time of the shooting, answering work emails when she saw people start running.

"It was pure pandemonium," she said. "I heard one gunshot as I was told to go down the stairwell."

She was stopped as she approached baggage claim, and police officers began streaming into the airport, she said. Officers told everyone to get down on the ground as they streamed past.

Chan caught several glimpses of the bedlam — a little girl holding her dad's hand as she screamed and cried; an adult daughter asking her elderly mother "Are you OK. Can you walk? Can you do this?" as people ran by; a woman screaming "Where is my husband?"

Chan ended up at the nearby Radisson hotel, but all of her belongings were still at the airport Friday afternoon.

At about 1:30 p.m. Utah time, a large throng of air travelers had gathered about a half mile outside of the airport, attempting to get into the airport to catch their non-canceled flights out of other terminals.

Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of Los Angeles World of Airports, said flights would be leaving only from the south end of the airport and at about half their normal rate.

"It will be a carefully orchestrated logistics ballet to get people rescreened," she said.

For the most updated information, Lindsey told air travelers to follow @LAX_Official on Twitter.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop for all flights that were scheduled to land at LAX, according to Dave Korzep, superintendent of airport operations for the Salt Lake Department of Airports.

That means that any flight that has not yet left for Los Angeles will not be able to take off from its airport of origin, he said. Anyone scheduled to leave for Los Angeles should call their airline to determine the status of their flight.

"This could be a long-term event," Korzep said.

At the Salt Lake City International Airport, the Airport Police and TSA have been alerted about the LAX situation and are monitoring it. Officers have stepped up patrols throughout the airport as a precaution, Korzep said.

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." Officers eventually corralled them.

The incident may impact the Utah State University football game scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday as the University of Hawaii football team was at LAX Friday morning awaiting a charter flight to Ogden, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

"We don't know yet how this is going to impact us," Derek Inouchi, UH Sports Information director, told the Star-Advertiser. "We're just playing it by ear. We're watching it on TV like everybody else."

Terminal 3 is home to Allegiant Air, Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit, Virgin America and Virgin Australia, according to the LAX website.

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People evacuate from LAX, walking from the terminal to a nearby hotel

Celebrities caught up in LAX shooting

LAX is the international hub for stars in and out of Hollywood, and a few celebrities were among the travelers caught up in the chaos following the deadly shooting at the airport Friday morning.

With time on their hands, they took to Twitter to update fans.

— “At (hash)lax Some (expletive) shot up the place.” — James Franco, who included a self-portrait in an airplane window seat. His publicist confirmed the actor was a passenger on a flight that landed Friday morning after the shooting occurred.

— “Currently waiting on the plane in a remote parking area. I am safe. Praying for the victims of this shooting.” — Nick Jonas, who posted moments earlier that the flight he arrived on was set to deplane at the terminal where the shooting occurred.

— “Heard gun shots then everyone starting running for the door. Not sure if anyone was hurt. (hash)LAX” — “Mythbusters” host Tory Belleci posted Friday morning, followed by a series of tweets and photos updating the situation at the airport throughout the afternoon.

— “Almost 4 hrs since the shooting. Still here. 2000+ people. They’re handing out waters & snacks. (hash)LAXShooting” — Belleci. Discovery confirmed in a statement that he and Grant Imahara were at terminal 3 on route to Delaware when the shooting occurred.

— “Otw to lax and I hear there was a shooting at the terminal I’m going to. No Dallas for me this weekend, hope everyone is ok. I hate u LAX” — “Glee” star Mark Salling.

— The Associated Press