A gunman killed one Transportation Security Administration employee and injured multiple people at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday. Flights were grounded and part of the airport was shut down. Police have said there was a single shooter and that the suspect is in custody. Stay with us for the latest updates.
Please contact your airline for the latest flight status information. FAA ground stop until approximately 4 p.m.
Here is a graphic showing where the shooting occurred today at the Los Angeles airport.
A. 9.20 a.m.: A gunman reportedly outfitted in camouflage pulled a rifle from a bag and opened fire at the entrance to Terminal 3.
B. At least six people were wounded and one Transportation Security Administration officer was killed.
C. Airport police responded to the gunfire and trailed the gunman after he crossed through a security checkpoint in the terminal.
D. The gunman got past the security checkpoint and moved farther into the terminal, trailing police tracked him down and shot him near a Burger King and took him into custody.
Here is where things stand right now:
• A gunman opened fire shortly before 9:30 a.m. (local time) at the Los Angeles airport Friday, killing one Transportation Security Administration employee and injuring multiple other people.
• Multiple TSA agents were wounded, though it’s unknown right now exactly how many.
• Six people were taken to area hospitals. Three of these people, all adult men, were taken to the hospital at UCLA; one person is in critical condition, while the other two have injuries that are not life-threatening.
• A suspect in the shootings has been identified by multiple sources as Paul Ciancia.
• According to authorities, the shooter took a rifle out of his bag and opened fire in the area where TSA screeners are and in the terminal.
• The Associated Press is reporting that the shooter was wearing fatigues and carrying a bag with a hand-written note that said he “wanted to kill TSA and pigs.” The Washington Post has not independently confirmed this report.
• Flights to the airport were halted due to the shooting. Some were diverted to other area airports, while scores of flights to or from the airport today were canceled.
And there are lingering questions:
• Very little is known so far about the suspected shooter.
• The TSA agent killed has not been officially identified. Similarly, the other people injured at the airport have not been identified, nor have authorities confirmed yet how many people were injured in the shooting.
• For travelers, the ground stop affecting arriving flights remains in effect, and it is unclear when normal flight operations will resume. Similarly, many people inside terminals at the Los Angeles airport remain kept inside as authorities investigate the scene. It is unknown exactly when all of these people will be able to leave.
Rand Beers, acting Secretary of Homeland Security, released a statement Friday offering thoughts and prayers to the family of the TSA worker killed “as well as the additional individuals, including TSA employees, who were injured in the incident.”
After the shooting, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded flights scheduled to arrive at the Los Angeles airport. Flights were diverted to other airports in the region. And dozens of flights heading to or from the Los Angeles airport were canceled, according to Flight Aware.
The ground stop remains in effect, so expect delays to last into the evening. Contact your airline if you are flying tonight.
Two sources have told Sari Horwitz that the suspect’s name is Paul Ciancia, confirming the earlier reporting by the Associated Press and NBC News.
Friday’s incident raises questions about how secure the airport screening process is more than a decade after Sept. 11, 2001, as airports in the Washington area increased security after the shooting.
A series of reports, including one as recent as July, identified issues with the TSA screening process. Last year, Congress held hearings after a May 2012 Department of Homeland Security inspector general’s report found that while the agency has a system in place for tracking security breaches, it did not have a centralized program that would allow TSA officials to track all breaches.
The IG found that local TSA airport officials did not properly track security problems, and even when security vulnerabilities were identified, corrective actions we taken only 53 percent of the time, the report said.
The shooting at LAX comes at a time when the agency is trying to be more user-friendly by loosening some screening restrictions for senior citizens and children. TSA also recently expanded its Pre-Check program which allows pre-screened passengers who pay a fee to move more quickly through security.
The Associated Press is reporting additional details about the shooter who opened fire at the airport today:
He was wearing fatigues and carrying a bag containing a hand-written note that said he “wanted to kill TSA and pigs,” the official said, who was briefed at LAX on the investigation and requested anonymity because was he was not authorized to speak publicly.
In addition, they added details about what happened inside Terminal 3:
As gunshots rang out in Terminal 3, panicked fliers dropped to the ground. Those who had made it past security fled onto the tarmac or sought cover inside restaurants and lounges.
“We just hit the deck. Everybody in the line hit the floor and shots just continued,” said Xavier Savant, who was waiting in the security line where the shooting occurred. He described it as a “Bam! Bam! Bam!” burst of gunfire.
President Obama said Friday afternoon that he is “concerned” about the airport shooting. But he declined to comment further, saying, “I’ll let the law enforcement folks talk about it directly.”
Obama’s comments to reporters came during an Oval Office meeting with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Flights leaving LAX have been halted due to the shooting earlier today. The airport just reported on its official Twitter feed that as soon as law enforcement officials have cleared Terminal 1, Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 — the last of those being the site of the shooting — flights will be allowed to depart the airport again.