LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Passengers at one Los Angeles International Airport terminal fled onto the tarmac Monday morning after someone mistakenly yelled that a gunman was on the loose.
The “misinformed” announcement may have been triggered by some police activity around 9 a.m. outside Terminal 2, where officers had apprehended a man they described as suicidal, LAX Police Department Sgt. Belinda Joseph said.READ MORE: Angels Reportedly Re-Sign Closer Raisel Iglesias To Four-Year Deal
“We believe that somebody that was in the gate area – either a passenger, employee, that’s unknown at this time – made a statement that that there was a man with a gun,” Joseph said.
Someone posted a message on Twitter saying there was a man with a gun at Terminal 2.
“But that was completely inaccurate,” Joseph said. “There never was anyone with a gun out at Terminal 2.”
“Nothing went out over a loud speaker, at all?” CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Dave Lopez said to Joseph.
‘No, sir,” she said. “There was no public announcement made.”
So who yelled out the warning?
Joseph said it definitely wasn’t a police officer.READ MORE: Authorities Reveal Victim of Fatal 57 Freeway Crash In Fullerton On Monday
Ben Horton, a photographer at Gates 25 and 26, posted about the incident on Twitter:
Joseph was unsure how many passengers reached the tarmac but says officers restored order within 15 minutes. Screening operations had returned to normal shortly before noon.
LAX was targeted by gunmen in November 2013, when a shooter killed a security screening agent, which set off panic among passengers in Terminal 3 and the security area. In the post-analysis of the shooting, the police department came under scrutiny for a reported lack of communication that day and that it took far too long to inform people in the terminal what was happening.
Monday’s incident at LAX wasn’t a case of lack of communication, but, rather, false information.
“What we would basically tell people is that if you don’t know, don’t say something,” Joseph said.
It’s a message very different than the Department of Homeland Security’s usual advisory: “If you see something, say something.”MORE NEWS: Ducks Blow Late Three-Goal Lead, Beat Kings 5-4 In Shootout
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