Shooting at LAX: Witnesses describe gunfire, screaming, chaos

Passengers described a scene of mayhem and chaos Friday morning as at least two people -- including a federal transportation agent -- were wounded in a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport . A suspect was in custody.

Vernon Cardenas, 45, of West Hollywood said he was at Terminal 3 to catch a Virgin America flight to Philadelphia when the shooting occurred. 

Cardenas, who does casting for the Fox television show “MasterChef,” said people were crying, running and diving for cover.



“We’re at the end of the terminal, the last gate of the terminal, so there’s nowhere to run. People were diving, hiding under chairs. All of a sudden you hear a couple pops, maybe three. But it was in the distance. It wasn’t close yet.”

Passengers started running through the emergency exits and onto the tarmac. But Cardenas stood by the exit, helping people leave. With the terminal nearly empty, Cardenas said he a saw man calmly walking with a rifle. He said he believed the man to be the shooter.

“Security has moved us to a safe location. Police everywhere,” he tweeted.

Brian Adamick, 43, said he was getting ready to fly to Chicago for his brother’s wedding and was boarding a Spirit Airlines flight at Gate 32.


He said people were running through the terminal, away from a security area. Adamick said he went through an emergency exit downstairs onto the tarmac with several other passengers.

“While I was on the tarmac, I heard two gunshots from the same area where the people had been running and screaming,” he said.

A few minutes after he got outside, buses showed up to help evacuate passengers. He saw a wounded TSA agent board one of the buses. The man’s ankle was bloody: “it looked like it was straight out of the movies.,” Adamick said.

The man, told him, “I got shot, I’m fine.” He told passengers not to worry about him and that he had been shot before, Adamick said.

Cast members and crew from the Discovery Channel television show “Mythbusters” were live-tweeting the chaos.

Cast member Grant Imahara tweeted about 9:30 a.m.: “Something just happened at #LAX. TSA and police running everywhere.”

He tweeted that he was saw many people pouring out of the terminal and onto the tarmac. “Then I heard shots fired outsite,” @grantimahara tweeted.

Tory Belleci, also a “Mythbusters” cast member, tweeted from the scene with pictures: “Something crazy is going down at LAX. People running everywhere. We just got evacuated.”


Claire Healy, 22, was on a Virgin America flight that landed at LAX into Terminal 3 around 10 a.m. She said the captain came on the intercom and told passengers that there was a “security breach” and that the plane would be rolled into a remote parking lot.

“It’s going to be a while,” Healy recalled being told.

She said the plane later moved to a remote location as passengers checked their phones to see what was going on. When the captain again addressed passengers minutes later, he said, “You all already know what happened.”

“No one is really that upset or worried,” Healy said. “Everyone’s relatively calm.”

She said passengers were told that Terminal 3 had been evacuated and that terminals 1 and 2 were in the process of being evacuated.



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Twitter: @josephserna

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