After panic took over LAX Airport on Sunday, the airport is going back to normal on Monday. Currently, LAX is crowded due to the delays the false alarm created. Amid the chaos, a man dressed as Zorro was arrested. Sunday’s situation in LAX is similar to what happened at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport two weeks ago.
Los Angeles police stated that no shots nor shooter were found in LAX after people started panicking when, for some reason, they believed the airport was under attack. Reports of gunfire in Terminals 6, 7 and 8 were made about 08:45 p.m, according to Los Angeles Times. Police started security protocols and set up a command post and shut down the central terminal area to incoming traffic.
Authorities said Los Angeles police had cleared all terminals by 10:45 p.m. The rumors of a shooter in LAX made people self-evacuate the airport onto the tarmac, rushing through federal security screening without being properly screened, said LAX in a statement.
Flight operations had to be stopped from 09:00 p.m. to 09:30 p.m on two runways, southern runways, because of people, escaping from the supposed danger, running onto the restricted airfield.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported on its website that due to the security situation it ordered a ground stop that lasted 30 minutes. The ground stop was lifted at 01:00 a.m ET. Airlines had to divert 23 flights to other airports. Twelve of those flights were diverted to Ontario International Airport. None of the flight arriving at the airport were canceled, according to CNN.
But LAX reported that the panic diverted 27 flight in total, and it caused 281 delays and two cancellations. People running to make their way out of the airport left an injured person from getting trampled.
Passengers and others in the airport collapsed the surroundings of LAX when they were fleeing the site in their vehicles. Even people in nearby hotels evacuated the zone. Traffic congestion continued for several hours around the Central Terminal Area, where no vehicles could access the terminal. People could only leave the restricted area.
A person with a Zorro costume was arrested before panic took over LAX.
On its official Twitter account, LAX posted that a man dressed as Zorro was arrested after people had reported he had a sword. Then it was discovered it was made of wooden. It is not clear if this incident was related to the shooter rumors that spread after the individual detention.
Individual in Zorro costume has been detained by @LAAirportPD
— LAX Airport (@flyLAXairport) August 29, 2016
Andy Neiman, the commanding officer from Los Angeles police media relations, said in a tweet that reports of shootings at LAX were loud noises that made people believed they were shot noises. He added that the investigation continues.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti stated that the situation unfolded on Sunday at LAX was a case of old-fashioned of miscommunication that quickly spread. Garcetti said that after half an hour after the chaos, there was 80% certainty that ii was probably an incident resulted from a misunderstanding of some people in the terminals.
John F. Kennedy Airport also experienced a shooter false alarm
On Sunday, August 14, New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport suffered a similar situation. A false report of a shooter in the airport made police evacuated the area floor by floor to confirm later the shots, and the shooter was a false alarm. It is believed, as in the LAX case, that the panic started after word of mouth. All terminals were cleared. The report of shots being fired started in Terminal 8.
Source: ABC News