Kenny Wells, 42, wanted on charges of carrying a concealed weapon at a commercial airport, possessing a gun belonging to a convict, shooting and engaging in reckless conduct, Area Commander Reginald L. Moorman airport of the Atlanta Police Department said Saturday.
“We are actively pursuing this individual,” added Moorman.
Here’s what we know about the brief grounding of flights at one of the world’s busiest airports:
According to Robert Spinden, federal security director for Georgia’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the incident happened around 1:30 p.m., when vacationing travelers on their way through the lines at the airport. airport’s main security checkpoint.
A passenger’s property was flagged for “secondary search” after an X-ray revealed a “prohibited item,” Spinden said at a news conference on Saturday.
“During that secondary search, the passenger dashed into his property, retrieved a gun inside and eventually ejected,” Spinden said. “The passenger then fled the security checkpoint through an exit lane adjacent to his gun.”
The incident left three people with non-life-threatening injuries, TSA officials said. A source familiar with the matter told CNN that the injured were not shot; They were injured while the airport was being evacuated. The source said the gun was discharged on the property of the person carrying the weapon.
All of the injured were adults, two of whom were taken to hospital, according to the source.
“We were lucky that when the gun went off, no one was seriously injured,” Spinden said.
Witnesses described panic
Airport spokesman Andrew Gobeil said the discharge was random, adding that the loud noise created a “sense of chaos”.
That commotion was captured in videos recorded by eyewitnesses.
Another video shared on Twitter by Haşmet Asilkan from outside the airport shows people running around when they hear someone urging people to run.
Erika Zeidler, who was traveling from Atlanta to Anchorage, Alaska, said she was sitting in a restaurant in Concourse T when people started running down the hallway.
“We thought they were late for the flight, and then more and more people started running,” she told CNN’s Jim Acosta. “There were some people screaming and then someone stopped and said, ‘There’s a shooter, you need to go.'”
Dianne Callahan was traveling with her son and took a flight to New York. She said she heard screams outside the plane as the crew closed the door. She also heard the whistle, Callahan said, and had no idea what was going on.
“It was an extremely stressful situation,” she said. “People were trying to get on a plane that wasn’t even on our flight. That’s how scared they are.”
Callahan and her son were later taken home through security, she said.
Guns pose a ‘big problem’ for TSA
It is illegal for people to carry guns through security checkpoints at airports in the United States, according to Page Pate, Georgia’s criminal defense attorney and constitutional attorney.
According to TSA CEO David Pekoske, the number of passengers carrying guns to airports has become a “huge problem”.
The TSA reported capturing 4,650 firearms at checkpoints in the first 10 months of the year – and most have been loaded. That number beats the full-year record of 4,432, set in 2019.
At the Atlanta airport, 450 firearms were discovered at checkpoints this year, the TSA said Saturday.
CNN’s Gregory Wallace and Pete Muntean contributed to this report.