LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Most of the thoroughfares surrounding Los Angeles International Airport that were shut down most of the day Friday remained busy as people walked with their luggage away from the evacuated airport.
Gunfire erupted at LAX at about 9:20 a.m. in the airport’s Terminal 3. Two TSA officers were shot, including one fatally; that officer is the first to die in the line of duty. Several people were injured in the shooting and subsequent melee.
The gunman has been identified by authorities as 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia, originally of Pennsville, N.J.
Busy thoroughfares like Century Boulevard, along with smaller arteries around the airport, were closed to vehicle traffic for much of the day.
“The whole city stopped because of it,” passenger Joe Kutchera said.
PHOTO GALLERY: LAX Passengers Stranded
The thousands of vehicles in and out of LAX were replaced by thousands of passengers, airport and airline workers, many with luggage in tow, walking for more than a mile in some cases because bus lines into the area were brought to a halt.
“We just kind of follow in a crowd of people, hoping we’ll stumble onto something that will get us to our destination,” passenger Charley Nelson said. “We’ve been walking. I don’t know, 45 minutes, an hour maybe, something like that.”
Passengers stranded by the shooting hailed cabs on outlying streets, filtered into neighboring hotels, or looked for rental car agencies. Many were on their way to other area airports, like Burbank or John Wayne Airport.
“These people are having a tough day, a really tough day,” passenger Bob Park said. “I feel so sorry for the people having to come out here, carrying their luggage like this. That’s a real long walk.”
Flights continued to arrive at LAX, but when the airport was still closed to vehicle traffic, many passengers opted to walk out and meet their rides.
Hundreds of passengers were also bused to the airport’s Parking Lot C, where they were told their ride could pick them up.
People, however, weren’t able to get to the parking lot due to street closures.
Passenger James Cameron has been up for 36 hours.
“They just say, ‘You go to Lot C and we’ll drop you off,” and somehow, people are supposed to find you,” he said.
KCAL9’s Brittney Hopper reported that Chris Crowell has been waiting to pick his family up for hours. He said they were stuck in a room with 3,000 with no food or water.
“Oh, man I’m exhausted, anxious and we’re just trying to look for them right now. I have a colleague of mine that went looking for them right now. To try and find them,” he said.
For flight information or for help finding a hotel near LAX, passengers can call (888) 831-7176.