By Tim Reid and Dana Feldman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Several people were injured in a shooting incident that sparked chaos at the Los Angeles International Airport on Friday and authorities said the suspected gunman was in custody.
The airport halted outgoing flights after the shooting and passengers were evacuated, authorities said. Local media reported a gunman with a high-powered rifle had been shot by law enforcement.
“About 9:30 this morning, there were some shots fired on or near Terminal 3, obviously some people were injured, two possibly three,” LAPD spokesman Gus Villanueva told KTLA television.
Los Angeles police spokeswoman Officer Norma Eisenman said a suspect had been taken into custody and was believed to be the only one. Eisenman described the situation as a multi-victim incident, but there was no immediate word on any fatalities.
Passenger Robert Perez told a local CBS affiliate that airport security agents had come through the terminal shouting that a man had a gun.
“I heard popping and everybody dropped to the ground,” Perez said.
Alex Neumann told cable network CNN that he was in an area inside the airport past a security checkpoint when he heard loud noises and screaming and saw people running in a scene that amounted to mayhem.
“We were at the food court and all of a sudden I hear a big commotion and people started running. People were running and people getting knocked down,” Neumann said, adding that he heard screams. “Mayhem is the best way of describing it.”
Television images on cable network CNN showed at least one person being loaded into one of several ambulances at the scene, and passengers were seen being evacuated from the area.
Footage showed emergency responders setting up what appeared to be a triage area outside an airport terminal, and outgoing flights were halted.
“The general public is being held back… Other than arriving flights, flight operations have been temporary held,” airport spokeswoman Katherine Alvarado said in an emailed statement.
Airport police and airport officials would not offer any additional information.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the incident and White House officials are in touch with law enforcement officials on the ground, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.