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November 1, 2013

Suspected gunman in custody at Los Angeles airport

LOS ANGELES —

A suspected gunman was in custody Friday following a shooting at Los Angeles airport that left multiple people wounded and disrupted flights nationwide.

Gunshots were reported at Terminal 3. Los Angeles police Officer Norma Eisenman said the conditions of the injured people were unknown.

She says the suspect also exchanged fire with airport police. The airport was being swept for precautionary measures and the bomb unit was on scene.

Airport staff evacuated travelers and flights were disrupted nationwide.

Television images showed two people being wheeled away by firefighters. Triage stations also were seen.

Witness Brian Keech told The Associated Press he heard “about a dozen gunshots” from inside a security gate at the terminal, which has been evacuated.

The Federal Aviation Administration said a “ground stop” was in affect for all flights heading to Los Angeles, meaning planes in any other airport in the country can’t take off for the city, although some flights already in the air were allowed to land.

LAX air traffic controller Michael Foote said some flights were still being allowed to depart.

Foote said his colleagues in the control tower saw passengers spilling from the terminal onto the tarmac, “evacuating the building, getting out as fast as they could.” Officers eventually corralled them.

Other travelers described a chaotic scene as airport security staff evacuated terminals, including onto to the tarmac. Hundreds of people remained gathered outside next to airplanes as authorities investigated what happened.

“People started saying there’s a shooter, there’s a shooter,” said Natalie Morin, a senior at USC who was heading to San Francisco for a graduate school interview.

Emergency crews responded to a multi-patient incident, Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said.

Terminal 3 is home to Virgin America and other airlines.

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