Officials believe the weapon discharged at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was in the pocket of Kenny Wells, a passenger who, according to police, fled with a weapon in hand.
Wells, 42, wanted on charges of carrying a concealed weapon at a commercial airport, possessing a convict’s firearm, shooting a firearm and engaging in reckless conduct, the airport’s district commander Atlanta Police Department, Reginald L. Moorman said.
“We are actively pursuing this individual,” added Moorman.
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.
At the Atlanta airport, 450 firearms were discovered at checkpoints this year, the TSA said Saturday.
Robert Spinden, TSA’s federal security director for Georgia, said Saturday’s incident took place around 1:30 p.m., when passengers’ property was flagged for “secondary search” following a beam scan. X at the security checkpoint detected a “prohibited item”. in a press conference.
“During that secondary search, the passenger dashed into his property, took a gun inside and eventually ejected,” Spinden said. “The passenger then fled the security checkpoint through an exit lane adjacent to his gun.”
“We were lucky that when the gun went off, no one was seriously injured,” Spinden said.
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 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.
Airport spokesman Andrew Gobeil said the discharge was random, adding that the loud noise created a “sense of chaos”. The investigation into what happened is still ongoing, he said.
A spokesman for the agency said the fear came a day after the TSA checked more than 2.2 million passengers at airports around the country – the highest number of checkpoints in a single day since the pandemic. Covid-19 pandemic begins.
Video shows chaos at the airport
The weapons discharge caused panic at Atlanta’s international airport, where federal aviation officials ordered a short-term halt to departing flights.
Video from inside the airport and eyewitness accounts illustrate the confusion and fear that unfolded.
Another video shared on Twitter by Haşmet Asilkan from outside the airport shows people running around when they hear someone shouting for people to run.
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.
Melissa Alonso, Raja Razek, Taliah Miller, Justin Lear, Pete Muntean, Dakin Andone, Keith Allen, David Williams, Nadia Romero and Ray Sanchez of CNN contributed to this report.