Officials said warrants had been issued for a man who escaped after a gun went off during a probe of his luggage at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Saturday afternoon, causing terrified passengers to flee and halting departures temporarily.
At 1:30 p.m., a transportation security officer was scrutinizing a passenger’s bag after an X-ray machine detected a banned item, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
The TSA reported in a written statement that “when he unlocked the compartment housing the banned item, the passenger leaped to grab the bag and seized a weapon, at which point it discharged.”
The tourist escaped with the pistol out of the screening line and out an airport exit, according to Robert Spinden, the TSA’s federal security director for Georgia.
The airport tweeted that no active shooter was present and accidentally discharged a gun.
Officials at the airport gave the all-clear at 2:57 p.m., reporting that passenger screenings and flights had resumed.
As per the press conference on Saturday night, Kenny Wells, 42, was identified as the man who fired his gun.
Wells has warrants out for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, shooting a firearm, bringing a concealed weapon at an airport, and reckless conduct, according to Major Reginald Norman, the airport police commander.
Cell phone footage captured terrified people lying on the ground. As per sources, passengers were seen stepping off planes and waiting on the tarmac and in terminals.
According to the airport, no passengers or employees are in danger, and the situation is being investigated.
At least three people were hurt, two of whom suffered from shortness of breath, and a third collapsed in an area unrelated to the security checkpoint. According to officials, none of the injuries were life-threatening, and it was unclear whether they were related to the scare. The discharge did not result in any injuries.
The Federal Aviation Administration has put a stop to all departures. According to the airport, normal activities are starting to resume.
The TSA stated that the event should serve as a reminder to passengers to “examine personal belongings for harmful objects before leaving for the airport.”
According to the agency, TSA officials have discovered more than 450 weapons at Atlanta airport checkpoints this year.
“Weapons, particularly loaded firearms, pose a needless risk at checkpoints, have no place in an airplane passenger cabin, and are a very costly mistake for passengers who attempt to board a flight with them,” the TSA said.
The TSA warns that travelers who carry firearms to airport checkpoints face civil fines. The penalties vary depending on any prior convictions and whether or not the firearms are loaded.