False reports of a shooter in Los Angeles International Airport caused panic Monday, as hundreds of panicked passengers hurried into streets or the tarmac and caused major flight delays, authorities said.
After the reports were received, Police Officers ran into the terminals armed with rifles but found nothing. The origin of the sounds that caused the panic are still being investigated.
It’s similar to a false alarm that led to a panicked evacuation two weeks ago at Kennedy Airport in New York, when a boisterous celebration of the Olympics may have been misinterpreted as gunfire, authorities say.
The Los Angeles scare created a mess, with three terminals shut down, roads closed and flights held in the air and on the ground, but no reported injuries. About 280 flights were delayed, while at least 27 flights were diverted to other airports and two were canceled, airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles said.
All terminals and roads into the airport reopened by 11 p.m. Sunday, about two hours after the initial reports, officials said. Besides traffic, travelers faced a massive backup in security lines because those who fled had to be rescreened through security.
Airport officials say a person wearing a Zorro costume was detained during the chaos, but it wasn’t yet clear whether the person had any connection to the evacuation.
The Los Angeles airport had an actual shooting in November 2013, when a man opened fire in the terminal, killing a security agent and wounding three other people.