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Everyone on the Ground!': Report of Gunman, Evacuation, Vehicle Crash Mark Wild Night at LAX


"It took us a couple of hours to clear those terminals."

Image source: CNN

Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The sight of cops walking through Los Angeles International Airport with their guns drawn and sound of them barking orders to people about the terminal, "Everyone on the ground!" and "Everybody get down!" was but one scene amid a chaotic Friday night that saw passenger evacuations, false alarms, and delayed flights that comes on the heels of a recent shooting rampage there.

Image source: CNN

An estimated 4,600 passengers were affected by the disruptions during one of the airport's busiest holiday seasons, officials said.

The chaos erupted only three weeks after a gunman shot and killed a Transportation Security Administration officer and wounded three others before he was shot and captured by airport police.

On Friday, the panic started when a woman driving on the airport's arrivals loop had a medical emergency and lost control of her SUV, hitting a woman who was walking on a sidewalk before slamming into a parking garage across the roadway from Terminal 5, Los Angeles police Sgt. Mark Guardado said.

Image source: CNN

Sounds from the crash spurred reports of gunfire among passengers inside the terminal, many of whom fled the building, airport police Chief Patrick Gannon said.

"It was determined relatively quickly that there was not a shooting," Gannon said.

Both women in the crash were injured, the pedestrian seriously, Guardado told KTTV-TV. Details on the women's conditions were not immediately available Saturday morning.

In neighboring Terminal 4, airport police received an anonymous call just after the crash reporting a gunman at a specific gate, Gannon said.

That prompted police to evacuate about 2,000 people from both terminals while they investigated. No gunman was found, and passengers were allowed to return but had to be rescreened by security.

"It took us a couple of hours to clear those terminals," Gannon said. "It created quite a disturbance."

Image source: CNN

The caller had not been identified as of Saturday.

Delta and American airlines reported a combined total of 60 delayed flights, both inbound and outbound, but no cancellations. Four arriving flights were diverted to other airports but eventually landed at LAX.

"Law enforcement did their job, and normal operations began returning," airport spokeswoman Katherine Alvarado said.

Things were running smoothly on Saturday, she said.

LAX is expected to become the nation's busiest airport in the Thanksgiving holiday period, with 2 million passengers expected to pass through between Friday and Dec. 2, Alvarado said.

Here's a report from CNN:



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