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Officer shoots woman who fired gun at Dallas Love Field Airport, police say

Dallas police say a 37-year-old woman fired a handgun at the airport and was shot and arrested by police

Passengers at Dallas Love Field on Monday after the terminal was briefly evacuated. (Mary Beth Gahan for The Washington Post)
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DALLAS — A woman fired shots inside Dallas Love Field Airport on Monday, sending air travelers scrambling and leading to an evacuation of the terminal. A police officer shot and wounded the woman, authorities said, and no one else was injured.

Dallas Police Chief Edgardo Garcia said the woman fired the handgun and was shot by police in the “lower extremities,” then arrested.

The woman, identified by police as Portia Odufuwa, 37, was dropped off about 11 a.m. near the Southwest Airlines ticket counter, then went into a women’s restroom to change clothes before reemerging, Garcia said.

“She produces a handgun and begins firing. At this point, we don’t know where exactly the individual was aiming. The most that we’re seeing now she was aiming at the ceiling,” Garcia said.

An officer who was nearby shot the woman, police said. Odufuwa was taken into custody and was being treated at Parkland Hospital. Police said several rounds were found.

Police declined to say what charges Odufuwa faced and messages left with her relatives were not returned Monday.

No information on a possible motive was released.

Kara Chatterton, 20, said she was standing in line Monday at a Southwest ticket counter while trying to book a flight after two earlier flights were canceled. A woman was behind her when the employee at the ticket counter told Chatterton she was in the wrong line, she said.

Chatterton said she moved to a different ticket window about 30 feet away when the same woman who had been behind her began to yell.

“I’m going to shoot,” Chatterton recalled her saying. “I have a gun.”

After that, she said, a shot rang out. Chatterton said she wasn’t sure whether it came from the woman or security reacting to the situation, but then more shots were fired.

Everyone around her got down or ran; Chatterton was among those who fled. As she ran, she tripped and scraped her hip.

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She found a worker in a vest and followed the employee onto a bus in a waiting area outside the terminal. They were the only people on the bus as they yelled to the driver that a shooting had occurred inside and to “just go,” she said.

By 12:40 p.m., Chatterton, of Santa Barbara, Calif., was in a car on the way to stay with relatives in Tulsa.

Flights were suspended Monday afternoon during the Dallas police investigation. The Federal Aviation Administration said departures to Love Field also were grounded during that time, although the airport’s operations resumed later in the day.

Passengers were cleared from the secure part of the terminal and screened again by the Transportation Security Administration, the airport said.

“Understand that will take time, so be patient because number of passengers at checkpoint has just increased exponentially,” TSA tweeted. The line Monday afternoon stretched past check-in counters, rental car windows and four baggage claim carousels.

Ralph and Pauline Hansen were about to board an 11:45 a.m. flight to Albuquerque when people around them started yelling and running. Ralph, who was near the restroom, took cover in a store. Pauline fled into the jet bridge with other passengers. The couple had to evacuate afterward and their flight was canceled.

Aileen Fullchange, 38, was entering the terminal amid the commotion. She is moving from Dallas to California, she said, in part because of the state’s stricter gun laws. She decided to book a flight Monday out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport instead of leaving Love Field on Tuesday.

“When all this happened, it was like verification,” she said. “Get the heck out of here.”

Love Field is a Southwest Airlines hub located less than seven miles from downtown Dallas, with a fraction of the air traffic that serves Dallas-Fort Worth International.

Michael Laris reported from Washington. Alice Crites contributed to this report

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