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False announcement of LAX gunman sends dozens running onto tarmac

Airline passengers flee #LAX terminal as police pursue a motorist who apparently tried to commit suicide

A false report about a gunman that sent passengers fleeing at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday has been blamed on a person in the terminal area, not the police or airport officials, authorities said.

The panic occurred about 9 a.m. as police pursued and arrested a motorist outside Terminal 2 after he apparently tried to kill himself in his car, authorities said.

According to airport police, a person in the gate area of the terminal announced publicly that there was a man with a gun. That sent dozens of screened passengers running from the terminal onto the airfield via emergency exits and stairways.

Police said Monday afternoon that they were still trying to determine who the person was who made the announcement.

The incident began when officers responded to a possible suicide attempt outside the Japan Airlines Cargo building in the 6000 block of Imperial Highway south of LAX.

A citizen called police after spotting a parked car with a garden hose running from the exhaust pipe to a rear passenger window.

Authorities said police noticed that the man was writing a suicide note when they arrived, but he drove away when officers tried to help him.

Police chased the unidentified man onto airport roads, where he finally stopped in front of Terminal 2 on the upper roadway of the departures level.

Officers captured the man, and Los Angeles firefighters took him to a hospital for evaluation and treatment.

The passengers who fled onto the tarmac were monitored, police said, and moved back into the terminal area so they could get to their flights.

Operations in the terminal area returned to normal by late morning, authorities said.

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


3:56 p.m.: This post has been updated with additional details, including where authorities believe the false alarm started.

This post was originally published at 11:28 a.m.