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False Reports Of Active Shooter At LAX Creates Panic, Grounds Flights; 2 Detained

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Two people were detained after false reports of an active shooter at Los Angeles International Airport Thursday evening briefly grounded all flights, created panic among passengers and prompted the evacuation of a terminal. Two people were also injured in the ensuing chaos.

False Reports Of Active Shooter At LAX Creates Panic, Grounds Flights; 2 Detained
Passengers lined up on the tarmac of Los Angeles International Airport after a false report of an active shooter created chaos in Terminal 1. Oct. 28, 2021. (CBSLA)

The incident began at about 7:30 p.m., when LA Airport police were called with reports of an active shooter in Terminal 1. However, no shots were fired and no gun was found, police said.

Two people were detained, one of whom was taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation.

Police said the entire incident was prompted by an argument between two men that started outside of the terminal. At one point, the argument spilled into the security area and a man ran passed TSA, breaching security, and screamed that the other man had a gun. People nearby started running, setting off a chain reaction. Within seconds there was a stamped of terrified travelers fleeing what they thought was an active shooter.

Reports from the scene detail passengers running off of planes and onto the airfield, hiding behind luggage cars and attempting to evacuate the airport. According to LAX, about 300 people self-evacuated from Terminal 1 and ran out onto the airfield. Footage from Sky2 showed hundreds of people lined up on the tarmac.

"Everybody started running, like the whole, like all the gates, so I just got up and literally started running and following people," passenger Danielle Festa told CBSLA. "And people were banging on the gates that let you on the plane. They were like, 'help, help, let us in, let us in.'"

Two people suffered minor to moderate injuries, the airport reported. One was taken to a hospital.

The panic prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to issue a ground stop for all flights at LAX and a complete evacuation of Terminal 1.

Within about an hour, at around 8:30 p.m., the FAA resumed flights on the south side of the airfield, but the north side remained grounded. The TSA also added extra personnel to help transport people who had rushed onto the airfield back to the terminal by bus. Several flights were delayed or canceled. Some passengers who had to leave their flights struggled to relocate their luggage.

However, by early Friday morning, all airport operations were back to normal.

It's unclear at this time if any arrests will be made or criminal charges filed.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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