LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The LAX Airport Police Department on Sunday discounted reports of a shooter at the airport saying loud noises apparently set off a panic.
Several terminals were evacuated. Many people went on social media to say they were standing on the tarmac surrounded by tons of police.
The incident was first reported just after 8:30 p.m.
The LA Airport PD cannot confirm an active shooter was ever identified.
Police searching LAX after reports. All precautions being taken to ensure safety of public. Remain calm. Thank you for your cooperation
— LA Airport PD (@LAAirportPD) August 29, 2016
Earlier this month, JFK officials said an elaborate hoax was perpetuated there, as well. Reports of a shooter at JFK were discounted as bogus, according to the New York Times.
KCAL9 Anchor Leyna Nguyen was at the airport returning to Los Angeles from Atlanta. She said it was “surreal” to see so many people running.
LAFD is also on scene investigating and noted “no significant incident has been noted thus far” as of 8:47 p.m.
At of 9:40 p.m., police officially said there was no shooter and no incident. It will still take some time to re-screen all the passengers, officials said.
Report of shooting at LAX proven to be LOUD NOISES only No Shots Fired No Injuries investigation continues to locate source
— Andy Neiman (@LAPDNeiman) August 29, 2016
Speaking of tonight’s incident in Los Angeles, officials said it’s possible many passengers were spooked by what turned out to be loud noises but at this point, they still haven’t located the cause of the noise.
Moreover, a man dressed as Zorro was also detained. The man turned out to be an actor coming from an audition.Officials later said the man didn’t have time to change out of his costume. “Zorro” later spoke to CBS2 and KCAL9 about exactly what happened.
He didn’t want to show his face — he was embarrassed about what happened — but he said he was going through the terminal and making a phone call and waiting for a ride.
“And the next thing I know, LAPD is all over me,” the actor said. “un-beknowing the fact, they’re coming after me. For whatever reason.”
At 10: 15 p.m., the El Segundo Police Department wanted to advise the public to avoid northbound and southbound Sepulveda Blvd./Imperial Hwy. due to traffic congestion. The Police activity at LAX has caused significant traffic backups and other issues, said the department.
They said to avoid the area “at least” for the next hour.
As of 10:30 p.m., airport spokesperson Nancy Suey Castles wrote:
“1. Due to initial reports of an active shooter in Terminal 8 at LAX, passengers in several LAX terminals self-evacuated onto the tarmac and rushed through federal security screening without being properly screened.
2. Terminals 1,2,3, 5, and the Tom Bradley International Terminal have been cleared by Los Angeles Airport Police and re-population of these terminals has begun with passengers proceeding through federal passenger security screening.
3. Terminals 4, 6, 7 and 8 are still being screened by explosive detection K-9 units before passengers are allowed to enter the terminals to be re-screened.
4. NO vehicles are currently allowed into the Central Terminal Area roadways while recovery from this incident is underway. Vehicles inside the CTA are allowed to exit.
5. A ground stop requested by LAX Airport Operations on the south runway complex only shortly after 9 p.m. was cleared before 9:30 pm, with flight operations resuming on the south airfield. The ground stop was requested due to passengers who self-evacuated from the terminals, ran onto the restricted airfield.
6. Los Angeles Airport Police report that reports of an active shooter at LAX were unfounded.”
At 10:45, the airport gave the all-clear. Castles wrote:
1. Both Upper/Departures and Lower/Arrivals level roadways into the Central Terminal Area have reopened.
2. All terminals have been cleared and passengers are proceeding through federal security screening in all terminals.
CBS2’s Jeff Nguyen spoke to many passengers who just wanted to get on flights or drive home.The frustration was written all over some of their faces.