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US: Shooting at Los Angeles airport, flights delayed

2nd Nov 2013

Parts of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) have been evacuated after a shooting inside Terminal 3. Officials say the gunman was taken into custody with injuries. The incident has caused major flight disruptions.

LA officials told a press conference after the “lone shooter” was taken into custody Friday that they saw no further threat to the United States’ third largest airport. The gunman was identified as 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia, who reportedly harbored anti-government views.

LAX is a major hub for flights to Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

The gunshots were reported at Terminal 3, which services airlines such as Virgin America and Alaska Airlines.

Travelers described chaotic scenes as airport security staff evacuated terminals. Some people spilled onto tarmacs, while others were told to stay in airport restaurants and lounges.

Casualties reported

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent died in the shooting. At least seven people were wounded.

The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center said it received “three male victims from the LAX Airport shootings.”

One had arrived in “critical” condition and two were listed in “fair condition,” the medical center said.

‘High-powered rifle

Los Angeles Airport police chief Patrick Gannon said that the shooter, who was carrying a high-powered “assault rifle,” was wounded by police before being taken into custody.

Gannon added that authorities believed there had only been a “lone shooter.”

“As you can imagine, a large amount of chaos took place in this entire incident,” he said.

The administration of the airport, known by its acronym LAX, also said on its Twitter account that the suspect was “now in custody” and that there were “multiple victims.”

Flight delays

Earlier, the airport had tweeted: “Ground stop now in effect at LAX after shooting in terminal.”

The incident was first reported after 9:30 a.m. local time (16:30 UTC).

At a press conference later, a LAX spokeswoman told passengers awaiting departure to expect delays.

‘Dozen gunshots’

Witnesses Brian Keech told AP that he heard “about a dozen gunshots” from inside the security gate at Terminal 3.

One eyewitness quoted by AFP said a shooter dressed in greyish-green clothing with an assault rifle opened fire as he went up an escalator and through a security check area.

Nationwide, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded flights that had not yet departed for LAX.

dr,slk/ipj (AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa)

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