tv News Nation MSNBC November 1, 2013 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
>> i think the task is what we know that's factual and concerned and what is speculated as this hour and then some has gone on since the incident. we have an updated time of 9:20 our local time. 12:30 your time on the east coast. what we know is at that time somebody got to the area of the checkpoint, where they check ids and hadn't got be to the point where they put everything on the conveyor belt and this individual had a gun. there was an exchange of gunfire. we don't know who was exchanging gunfire with the suspect. and in that exchange as pete williams reported, one tsa employee was injured, fatally. he's now reported to have been killed. at least one other tsa agent is injured, there's been video of him escorted into an ambulance
and perhaps one or two other people, we don't know whether they are tsa employees or other passengers in the crowded area, injured as well. in a half hour there's going to be a news conference from lapd chief charlie beck and mayor eric garcetti and they'll have the answers to some questions still unknown at this point. was this individual acting alone? is that confirmed that he acted alone? we have a report about a half hour ago that the incident according to federal officials was described as being over. but there still is a pursuit and investigation throughout this crowded airport to see whether or not there was anybody working in concert with this alleged suspect. >> the gunman in custody. what eyewitnesses saying they saw and heard. eight and ten shots they thought they heard there? >> that's the number of shots that have come from a couple of
eyewitnesses -- ear witnesses because very few people claim to have seen the alleged suspect. one person described the suspect as someone, male in his early 20s with short blonde hair wearing sweat pants or other casual clothing. no other description beyond that. the suspect himself -- alleged suspect himself has been wounded and now in custody and presumably with medical treatment as well. we will probably know more about this alleged suspect when there's a press conference. >> what you're looking at is terminal three at lax. this is where virgin american spirit airlines, jetblue, front tear, allegiant and that's about it -- this is where those particular airlines are based for lack of a better description. among other things that we're following is the fact there's a ground traffic cutoff around the airport. miguel almaguer is attempting to
get as close as possible to the airport. you cannot simply drive up with this ongoing situation. miguel, are you there? >> reporter: it sounds like they are trying to shut down portions of the 405 and 110 in the area have the major highways that run through the region. the 405 specifically a major thoroughfare for commuters in los angeles. that might be happening now or in the process of happening. we're about -- i would say about a half mile away from where this incident took place trying to get to the airport entrance. it is completely gridlocked here. there are hundreds of cars in every lane. we have about seven helicopters and several news agencies as well as police and fire officials hovering up overhead. this area is a mess. it is gridlock. folks are being told to stay away. as we approached the airport on the thoroughfares that go on towards the airport property, we can see buses and cars are
literally at a standstill, there are people on the roadways where we are now outside of their cars trying to make their way towards the airport. some folks walking with luggage in hand. a majority of the flights have been severely impacted. flights coming into the airport, we've seen a couple of planes land off the runway here a few hundred feet from where we are at in our vehicle. we know some flights are landing but it is it not appear any flights are taking off this afternoon. it is a mess out here at lax, tamron. >> this is on top of the fact, miguel, we were already experiencing, the midwest moving east, delays of up to three hours due to the weather that we've seen across the country this last two days. now you have this incident as well. let me go back to mike taibi. more to exactly where this incident happened as far as what witnesses and we've been able to
at this point confirm. where in the airport did this encounter take place? >> i think when people start thinking about where it happened, they should think of their own experiences. once you've gotten your boarding pass, you follow the signs to all gates. you get to a security checkpoint, sometimes several in each terminal. you go to the security checkpoint and allowed up the stairs. once you've shown you have a boarding pass. then the preliminary check is the one for the i.d. to make certain that information matches what's on the boarding pass. that tsa personnel has a sole job of making certain the boarding pass is a match for the official government i.d. you get in the line that snakes around to the conveyor belts and take your shoes off, et cetera, et cetera. he didn't get that far. he evenly got to the point where i.d.s are checked against boarding passes. at that point, the exchange of
gunfire occurred. it lasted as you pointed out eight or ten shots, not a huge exchange of gunfire. it's not known who was shooting. in addition to the alleged shooter was it an air marshall or lapd, los angeles airport security officer, not certain at this point but what's known is it lasted a few seconds and tragic results for at least one tsa employee. >> you may be familiar more than i am with the terminal, i'm thinking of airports i traveled to recently where you check the documents, usually the line you refer to that snakes around where we take off shoes is not very far away. if there's an exchange of gunfire or of shots fired, people who are taking their jackets off, getting ready to go through the actual security process could not have been very far away. >> no, it must have been terrifying and a couple of eyewitnesses described by the local affiliate here say they hit the ground right away and
people were panicking at that point. it's close quarters with scores of people, if not hundreds in the very crowded terminal, in this crowded airport -- >> on a friday morning. >> on a friday morning with delays because of the weather situation on the east coast and midwest. people were jammed into that terminal at that point. we'll get clear -- >> we have a witness on the phone with us, mike, joining me now by phone is nick pugh. what did you see? >> caller: i was standing on the upper mez nine and the guy started to shoot down below us. i escaped out an emergency exit. he probably shot, five, ten shots, sounded like an assault rifle or shotgun. >> for people who don't know, you're on the mezzanine level. how far were you from the gunman? >> probably 15 feet away from him. >> can you tell me more about his demeanor or once you heard the shots did you look down and see the direction and where it could be coming from?
>> i didn't actually see the guy. we were on the upstairs mezzanine, where you first come in off the ground floor. where you might check in at first, where you show your i.d. and show your -- show your boarding pass, that's where i was -- that's where they stopped him or he started shooting or whatever. i was up above and he just started -- i mean the gunshots -- it was 15 feet away but down on a lower level at the base of the escalator which we just walked up. >> i imagine there was no doubt -- or was there doubt this was shooting? you're going in and about to travel. this is a thing i would hope furthest thing from your mind there and hear the gunshots. >> caller: there was no doubt it was shooting and it sounded like a pretty high caliber weapon. so i mean, it was loud bangs. yeah, there was no doubt it was shooting. >> did you see police or tsa
agents rushing down to try to apprehend this person or toward where the gunshots were coming from? >> caller: you know, nobody ran toward it. everybody ran away from it. we were in a big line of people. there was probably 150 people waiting in line to go through security and we were all standing there. and i basically was -- everyone ran toward security and i was behind where you could really get and i thought, i went out an emergency exit on the tarmac right away and deemed that was the best choice. >> as you were running and fleeing, could you hear the gunshots in the background? >> you know, i didn't hear anything because i was outside. and no, i didn't, i just -- that was it. i ran and then the police came rushing toward me and put me down on the ground and handcuffed me, thinking i was the suspect or making sure i wasn't and whatever. i laid on the tarmac for ten minutes. >> as you were running out,
through that emergency exit, you were apprehended? >> yes, i was. >> what did authorities say to you at the time? >> they just told me -- they just said get down on the ground, put your hands behind your back. don't do anything. you know, guns aim add the me. i wasn't going to say much. >> how quickly were you able to clear this up with them? >> i would say ten minutes. they had to go back towards the terminal and few other people came out the same place i did. then from there ip guess they realized none of us was the suspect. >> where are you now? >> i'm in another terminal, i don't know which one, two -- u.s. airways. >> are you with a number of other people? is this where you were all directed to go while this investigation continues? >> yeah, everyone was -- i came up off the tarmac into another terminal where no one had been -- where i guess no one in that terminal had even know what was going on when i first came
in. then from there, they just evacuated that terminal and walked us over to the other one -- >> so you actually -- when you were running from the chaos or the gunshot, you ended up through the emergency exit that put you on the tarmac? >> yes, yes, immediately -- >> which probably explains why authorities instantly saw you as someone they needed to at least talk to and question that you are a passenger we now know. they did not seeing you on the tarmac there. >> yeah, it was totally out of place, me being on the tarmac, but i figured it would be better to be there, if somebody -- >> than where the gunshots are coming from. >> talk to me again. you said you were around 150 people. i cannot imagine the chaos that you're hearing multiple gunshots and people trying to figure out how to get out of that area. >> yeah, i mean, everyone pretty much just dropped to the ground and started crawling along, trying to keep as low as possible to the ground.
>> what are you being told right now? what are authorities telling you right now as far as how long you'll be in that area? what direction are you being given? >> they just moved us from one terminal to the other. there's no indication if we'll be here for a long time or -- i know the airport is closed. >> yes, and you did not actually see the person firing the shots, but you certainly were close enough and it was clear enough that that was what was happening? >> i did not see the shooter but i was very close to where he was shooting. i happened to be on a different level above where he was standing. >> thank you very much. i'll let you get yourself together and figure out the next move. what we just heard from this eyewitness, at least as you pointed out the ear witness, he did not see the gunman but heard shots is really what we've been hearing throughout this morning. this all starting around -- the first gunshots 9:20 local time.
it is now 11:12 local time, we're awaiting an update from the mayor as well as the police commissioner. >> that's correct. a couple of things to tell you right now. anyone following this story wants to know if this is the only suspect. we got information from the lapd spokesman telling us that the suspect is now in custody, and that, i'll quote this directly, he is the only suspect in the incident according to the lapd spokes person. they said while he may be the only suspect in this incident, the bomb squad is now continuing its search and its canvas not just of the terminal but con tig uous terminals as well. i've been handed photograph, one is the area by the gate which show aids long rifle. i don't know that's the alleged rifle the suspect had but not the type of thing ordinarily that lapd personnel would have with them.
they also said it was airplane police, lax airport police, a separate squad who engaged the gunman in gunfire. that may answer the question we had, who was doing the shooting on the other side? it may well be according to the lapd spoekdsman, it was airport cops who neutralized him and have him in custody. >> we just got a statement in from the tsa union leader reacting to the news that a tsa employee was killed in this incident. it siz in part, we're sickened by reports of today's shooting at the los angeles international airport. our sincerest thoughts and prayers to the transportation and security information officers killed in this heinous attack. pete williams is standing by. the tsa agents who are the first line, if you will, these are people who check our documents and i.d., they are not armed
agents or tsa employees, right? >> you know, i don't know what the practice was at la airport. i can't say for certain. i don't believe they are. it happened at that checkpoint where -- there are three places where you encounter the security at the airport. the first is where you just sort of show someone who's oftentimes a government contractor, may not be a tsa official. you show them that you have in fact a boarding pass or ticket and allowed to pass along into the secure area. then you encounter the first tsa who looks at your documentation, driver's license or passport or whatever i.d. you have and checks it against your boarding pass or ticket. we're told that's where this happened that the gunman shot and killed one tsa employee there, wounded at least one other tsa employee, and some other person. we don't know whether that third person who was wounded was a
passenger or potentially another tsa employee. then we're told the gunman was shot, we've been told by lapd that the gunman is in custody. we've had conflicting information whether the gunman survived the shots. we're still trying to get the definitive information on that and on who the gunman is, but as to whether there was a second gunman involved, that is certainly being investigated, but at this point we've had no information that there was more than one person involved here. >> we also have with us retired hostage negotiator, jim cavanaugh, as pointed out in the statement by the tsa union leader, there's 45,000 transportation security administration officers, tsa officers, who screen all commercial airlines and passengers and baggage and cargo as well. i asked pete whether the tsa
agents who are the first that we encounter, when you're boarding a plane showing documents and it appears this is where it happened, if they are armed and obviously, different airports have a different system. but what is the usual protocol as well as those people and if they are armed or not in the. >> normally they are not armed but do wear a police uniform. they wear a light blue shot and you'll see that in the video and they have a badge. they appear as law enforcement and they are law enforcement really but not armed. the reason that is, most of the airport police departments in this case, the lax airport police, los angeles airport police department, and as pete said, that's who shot the gunman. so they are usually the ones who are nearby at the checkpoints and standing back and blue uniform, armed and you know, they don't -- that's the way they like it. they know who their people are. generally speaking the tsa
agents are not armed and the airport police officers are armed and that's -- that appears what happened here. >> we're still obviously waiting to get confirmation and more details here, but jim, some of the reports as you well know indicate that this person had a rifle and one would wonder if this was a weapon that was hidden in a bag? did he pull it out before -- pull that weapon out of the bag before getting there or did somehow people believe he was a law enforcement personnel? it is not a hand gun you could conceal under a jacket. >> it is a great point. i mean, just like the navy yard, when we saw the shooter come in, he had the sawed off shout gun in his bag. in the airport there's so many people around and so many cameras, if you saw somebody walking as this man described in a white t shirt carrying a long gun, people would quickly point him out and security officers
would pick him up. it is would be interesting to see when he first exhibited the weapon. he may have pulled it out in the security line as he was approaching a tsa agent. he may not have had it in plain view long. >> some of the witnesses are saying it was a long rifle. if the eyewitness accounts are correct, it's difficult for anyone to say at this point, until we hear from police, but also, we know the level of security. we're not very far from the thanksgiving holiday. this is a friday morning, a lot of people traveling, a lot of folks honestly stuck out west trying to get east because of the weather delays. i'm curious as far as cameras and monitoring that we do not see, the tsa agents are visible and police are visible. but what about those who are keeping watch through surveillance cameras. what kind of presence exists in these major airports?
>>? bigger airports there's more than the smaller airports, of course. and the security is layered. but you also get better security when you have more police or security agents like tsa. so if you can deploy more, even plain clothes out in front of the terminal, a lot of times people can be picked up. the customs and boarder protection, used to be custom service, were masters at this, absolute masters at being able to pick out people by watching them, whether they were up to nef fair yus activity. it has to be deployed a little further out. >> jim, i'll get you to hang on. let me bring in california congresswoman maxine waters. congresswoman, what have you been told about the situation? do they believe they have the one person responsible in custody? >> yes, i have been monitoring as closely as i possibly can. and probably you have about the
same information that i have. i do understand that the shooter is in custody, but i don't know whether or not that person has been killed or not, there are differing reports about whether or not the person who apprehended as the shooter has been killed. >> we're awaiting an update from the mayor as well as the police chief. it may start in the next nine or ten minutes or so. as you heard here, at least eye witness accounts, this one individual was able to get close enough to this tsa employee to kill him. witnesses heard the gunshots. what are your concerns right now as we await to get more information that this person was able to enter the airport and don't know if the weapon is concealed but describing it as a long rifle. >> absolutely right, it is just not bleselievable that he could
have walked in with a rifle that was not in some way hidden or concealed. the tsa officers are first line of officers that you encounter, you know, after you get a ticket, go to the first part where you have to show i.d. or you go to the second part where you have to show i.d. then go to the third point. so the tsa officers are the first ones to be encountered by passengers. and they don't wear arms in los angeles. they don't have guns. they do have uniforms. everybody knows that they are officials. but to get past them, you have to have some i.d. >> well, congresswoman, i hope we'll get more information in a few minutes from the law enforcement personnel and those there on the scene. i appreciate the details you have been given at this point. let's go to former lapd
commissioner bill granton. sir, thank you for your time as well -- grat ton. what do you know at least your sources, what have they been able to tell you about the engagement between the los angeles airport police and this individual? hello? >> are you there? >> yes, i am there. can you hear me? >> yes, i can, now. have you been able to get details from your contacts about the engagement between the airport police and this suspect said to be in custody? >> the preliminary information, which the press conference will be holding shortly, will add to, is that it is a single individual who has in fact been shot. he was armed with a rifle. the altercation did occur at the screening area prior to the package screening area, that it appears that the officers
involved were airport police at los angeles international airport, the los angeles police department has a large contingent of officers but the primary policing is provided by the airport police. at los angeles international airport, it's probably the most heavily policed airport in america. i travel through airports all the time. none of them has the visibility and level of security that is provided at lax, every baggage screening checkpoint has true uniformed officers at that baggage checkpoint, that's a level of security you don't see anywhere else. at that checkpoint, would have been on duty within a few feet where the shooting occurred two uniformed armed officers. as you go into the airport, you cannot go into the perimeter of the airport, if you will, the
nine terminals, without seeing a significant number of uniformed officers aefrn and cars and motorcycles. again, it is one of the most heavily visibly policed airports in this country as well as the plain clothes units that are on site at that location. but the situation at the airport now, it is in lockdown, several of those terminals. it is a very confusing situation. it only occurred a couple of hours ago. it will take a while to sort through it. at the moment it appears the threat has been handled. >> but with the point you just made that it is the -- that the police presence there in your experience and your travel and obviously having been the former lapd commissioner, it's the highest presence so people will obviously wonder and we'll learn more how this person with a rifle was able to get to that point. >> very easily. hundreds and thousands of people go through the airport every
day, carrying baggage. the ability to conceal a weapon after you get to that point of time is very easy. it doesn't take rocket siscienc figure out, the idea that you try to prevent as much as you can, but it somebody is intent in bringing a weapon on the airport property, there is that ability and capability to do that. as to what this person's intent was, why he had a weapon or at least one weapon with him, which appears based on the preliminary investigation to be a rifle, the investigation will hopefully disclose that. but -- >> perhaps you know something i do not know. there have been witnesses who say they saw the person casually walking with the rifle. do you know with certainty there was a concealed -- we can make logical determinations how he can get past people, that it could be in a bag, but do you know that? >> i have no idea at all. this incident is unfolding.
the incident itself, the shooting occurred about two hours ago. as to when he was first seen with the weapon, in the terminal, in proximity to where the shooting occurred, i don't have that information. that information may be disclosed at that preliminary trust conference scheduled to take place in a short while. >> thank i, sir. miguel almaguer is standing by. where are you now? >> reporter: we're right outside the main entrance. it is right over my right shoulder. over my left shoulder, this is where terminal three is, where the shooting took place in one of those behind me, a lot of activity is still happening at this hour. virgin atlantic and other airlines where the shooting took place. from outside of the airport, it is a nightmare out here. the traffic line here stretched for miles to get here.
it is getting a little easier to get into lax but still miles of traffic coming into this back entrance into lax. this is one of the back entrances. imagine going through one of major corridors that feeds into the terminals. we were told a short time ago that the major freeway leading into -- excuse me as a plane flies -- right overhead of the runway here. the major roadway, 405 for all of los angeles into lax, we were told was going to be partially shutdown. we're not sure where they are at with that. that would be a nightmare if that highway is shutdown. there was choppers, seven choppers above us earlier today. more news helicopters and police helicopters and fire helicopters on the scene. you can hear the sirens. we've been seeing emergency vehicles coming up and down this entrance way to lax all day
long. certainly a lot of police activity still going on at this hour, still a very fluid situation, tamron, as we try to figure out what's going on outside the gates of lax. >> that's how the faa is describing it. just got a statement saying the situation at lax is a very fluid one. there's currently a ground stop for flights scheduled to depart for lax, temporarily being held at their departure airports, arrivals and departures are still occurring and some flights may be diverted. it is closely monitoring the situation and making adjustments if needed. pete williams is standing by. i understand you may have an update for us. >> is there anything you can say about -- >> all right, well, pete is getting more information but we're also, jim cavanaugh is standing by. the information i'm reading here indicates that the obviously which we know, the individual
who was killed is a tsa employee. the other individual who is injured as well and now at least maybe three others were wounded, and it appears that they all were tsa employees as well. >> well, our heart goes out to the tsa. it just goes to show you they are the front line right there. people take them for granted and want to criticize the security. the reason they are there to stop things like this. also, the lax airport police who may have been the officer who killed the gun marn. the fact that the gunman was only able to get off 8 or 10 shots is -- goes to the actions of tsa and the airport police, that they confronted them and stopped them because a guy with any kind of long gun, shotgun or rifle could wreak havoc. it could be awful carnage. so it's bad, bad case but there was at least some activity to stop them. >> let me ask you and of course you were with the atf, the
training for the tsa agents, particularly those that are not armed and to your point, who spend most of their day at least where this incident happened, checking documents and making sure the name matches the tickets and the i.d.s and passports are not expired. speak to the training they go through to get this job. >> tsa gets good training. it's a good agency, they function every day, always under tremendous criticism from the congress and public. they probably don't get a good word much. but they are doing their job every day. they are very ted indicated to their mission. they do get good training, following and watching and briefed on intelligence matters with atf, joint terrorism task force officers from all of the agencies have a lot of contact with tsa and federal air marshall service. they are good folks, very dedicated when they are working
and doing their job, we're all flying around doing our business. when it comes to something critical like this, they step in. they did that today. >> let's go to pete williams standing by. he's nbc's justice correspondent. you may have updates for us here? >> tamron, the best information we have is that all victims here were tsa employees. the one person who was killed and perhaps as many as three who were wounded, but none of the victims were other passengers who were nearby. it's not clear whether the gunman was specifically -- went to the airport intended to target tsa employees or whether that was simply the first point at which he encountered resistance and trying to shoot his way further through. we know he was shot by la airport police. we don't know what his condition is. there are frankly conflicting reports we've heard for the last hour and a half about whether the gunman has survived these
shots. he was taken into custody by the lapd, police have said repeatedly, but we don't know whether he survived the shots and whether they've been able to question him or not and find out what his motive was. they are trying now to confirm his identity. they have an initial name they are trying to run but can't confirm that is in fact the right name that they have. we're told that the initial information is that he is a u.s. citizen in his early 20s, but that's the only information we have. we don't know specifically what kind of weapon or where it was obtained. those are all questions that will be answered in the coming hours. >> let's go back to jim c cavanaugh. the former chief talked about the security situation at lax, he believed that it is the best and most heightened in this
country with two armed airport police at each security screening area, we've reported that tsa agents were injured were not armed. but the level of police presence, he says is one of highest we would see in the airport. >> i would agree with the chief on that. lax has a lot of police. that's one of the best airport police departments in the world. they are everywhere. as travelers, you don't notice the police. they are over on the side. as law enforcement officers we notice them all the time. when we go in, we look around and see other police officers and may know them and talk with them. it's our business. but they are everywhere, no doubt they were within a few steps of the checkpoint and so when the gunman pulled out the gun, no doubt the lax airport officer fired his gun and either wounded or killed as pete said, we don't know yet, this
assailant. so the security worked -- we need to say that. the security worked and tsa was there to stop people from hurting others. it looks like they took the wounds then the airport police stopped aid gunman. it is a case of security working. >> which is a great point to make. we'll get more details on how this unfolded. but you've traveled a lot and i travel extensively as well at pretty much every airport where your documents are checked against your ticket, a few feet away, some some cases, a few inches away, the line starts from where you get your bags and go through security monitoring process before you eventually walk to your gate. the one individual we spoke with, one of the witnesses, said where he was standing, 150 people perhaps were standing in that area not very far away from where the gunshots were heard. >> right, well, any facility that will have a large group of people, doesn't matter if it's a
sports stadium or someplace there's a security checkpoint. there's always a place where people got to go in. that's going to slow down and be a public access area generally. so the only way to secure that -- there's always going to be that point somewhere. to secure that, sometimes the perimeter can be pushed up further with eyes and cameras and plain clothes agents and so forth. no doubt lax does some of that. i'm sure they'll reexamine and maybe even something else they can do. the critical point as you talked to the witness earlier and alluded to was, when did the gunman first exhibit the weapon? that will be critical for the tsa to look back and see what could have done? when did he first pull it out? when was it first exhibited? was it visible when he got out of his car? >> probably in some type of satchel -- >> some information we're getting, one senior government official saying now the gunman had a long gun, approached the checkpoint, may have been
running. initial reports -- that the suspect was a ticketed passenger. this is something that's coming in right now, a senior government official person unnamed said the long gun, may have been running and what we can confirm. one tsa employee was killed and three other tsa employees injured as pete reported here as well. we've got a statement in from the ucla health science hospital, the director says that one patient arrived in critical condition. the two patients are listed in fair, that some of the information we're getting. we're going to go to local coverage to listen in to the information they've been able to obtain. >> and actually, we're being told right now that all of the victims according to sources still waiting to hear where this information is coming from. preliminary reports, nbc news is telling us that all of the victims were in fact tsa agents.
we knew earlier that two had been shot, one of those tsa agents was shot and killed, now we're told there are three total victims, all of them tsa agents. again, what happened to the shooter? the gunman, still conflicting reports there. we've heard from some reports he was shot and killed. lapd detectives have told us he is in custody. so a lot of information, a fluent situation as we're following all of these developments right now and hoping at any minute now, we're eight minutes behind schedule. we're supposed to get an updated briefing from the mayor and from lapd chief charlie beck. >> there's so many different agencies on so many different levels between city and state and federal officials. they have to gather and go over the information and give us what they know at this time. what is unclear is really the motivation of this gunman.
what did he want? was he trying to shoot his way through? was it this one event? we don't know. >> we're actually getting some -- my producer is talking in my ear, we're getting new information right now. we're told this according to ucla medical center, a spokesperson there, received three male victims from lax, one is currently in critical condition. two are in fair condition. and also we know that one tsa agent has reportedly been shot and killed. again, all of this -- you know, the bottom line for folks -- >> we're listening into the local coverage, knbc, but we're expecting a news conference any minute now. some of the information pete williams reported in the last few minutes, they are working to confirm the identity of this gunman and not confirming the name of the individual but say he is a u.s. citizen in his
early 20s. this all unfolding around 9:20 local time. here's a bit of what we heard from eyewitnesses, just a short time ago. let's take a listen. >> i wasn't sure exactly what was happening. i thought it might have been a bomb scare or something. i saw a man walking around with a shotgun. initially i thought this is an undercover policeman or something because he was walking cautiously and didn't seem like it was in any particular area then it became very clear picked up my bags and ran out. >> we were standing in line and somebody started shooting. it sounded like a .44 or big caliber gun or shotgun, couldn't tell, within 15 feet of where i was standing. it seemed they were shooting away from where i was. i couldn't see the shooter, i guess, but it was very close in terms of the sound you could hair.
hear. people started running from the center area of the terminal out towards where the tapes would lead to airplanes. there was an initial round of shots and pause and more shots. and i think it was a virgin america person said to the people now running away from the center area, to get out, get out. wasn't thinking that somebody stuck the gun in. i was thinking somebody had a gun and shooting it. >> that's what a few of the witnesses who were there inside the airport terminal 3 at the time of the shooting have told us. and pretty similar story throughout this morning, the last couple of hours from a number of people, miguel almaguer is outside lax, where this not only paralyzed the airport, the traffic in and around it greatly impacted as well as this investigation continues. >> yeah, tamron, this is the
second busiest airport in the nation. we have hundreds of flights in and out every day. it is a major hub, not just for los angeles but all of southern california. we've seen the effects of the shooting outside of the airport. traffic is a mess. we know flights have been delayed and canceled. as a matter of fact, we have seen more activity and seen a plane or two taxi, an aircraft take off a few moments ago. we had yerlier seen planes landing. but i haven't seen in the immediate time frame recently. it's still an active scene out front. we have seen police cars with sirens on rush up and down these streets making their way inside lax. it's still an active investigation and active scene at the terminal. all of that terminal is shutdown to the public, but many others are drastically affected. on a friday, many people trying to get to the airport or get out of the airport.
all of the plans heavily affected as well as traffic flowing into this region. it's a mess outside lax. >> jim, we're awaiting this news conference, it's supposed to start in the next couple of minutes, getting the airport back running, if there was one suspect in custody and this gunman is with police, we're watching the double box with the press conference, how soon can they give the all clear so people can get to destinations and others can land as well? >> the commanders are going to delineate the crime scene pretty quick. it's going to be right where you see those chairs at the tsa checkpoint. they are going to rope that off and secure that's as a crime scene. and i'm sure the rest will be operational, if it's not quickly. there will be searches going on and s.w.a.t. team members searching other buildings to make sure there's nobody else hiding or somebody.
i'm sure it will come back quick if they think this is the only shooter. >> we're awaiting this press conference. the mayor of l.a., eric garcetti and police chief also expected to update us here. jim, obviously we're watching this play out nationally, national audience, heard a couple of people already saying this means i might see more security at my airport that i'm traveling from the next few days, especially given that the holiday is right around the corner. >> well, all of the airport police commanders, tsa, federal security directors, i'm sure they'll be reassessing their plans and strategies to what can we do different? the security did work here. you can press it out further but you almost have to have a place where it starts. so there may be some things like that. this sequester, and government is really hurt the law enforcement agencies. when i talked to colleagues in
law enforcement across the board, they can't believe how bad it's hurting them and hurting their operations and support, their training. i hope that congress can come to grips with that and bring the government back like it should be in the right mode, whatever it should be, because the way it is now, it is hurting things. i'm not saying it hurt in this instance but across the board. >> do you believe it is compromising security? >> no, i wouldn't say in this instance. i think the tsa had their complement of people there and airport police there. i don't think so. i think the longer that thing runs the more is degrade our abilities to stop terrorists and interview criminals, it's bad thing to happen. agencies need to be staffed to fulfill their mission. can congress do something? they can help law enforcement across the board with making sure that budgets are right. and that's one thing. i don't think it's related to
this shooting. >> just to update the audience, we're awaiting this news conference to get hopefully some more details on what played out at terminal three at los angeles international airport. this is where virgin airlines, spirit airlines and jetblue and few others are based at this airport. the tsa union leader responded, saying, we're sickened by reports of today's shooting at the los angeles international airport. our sincere thoughts go out to those injured or killed in this heinous attack. one tsa agtd did lose his life and another injured as well, as many as three other tsa employees and we'll hope to get more information on their situation as well. there's some 45,000 tsa officers
according to the union who screen all commercial airline passengers and baggage and cargo where this incident took place, is that first line of defense that if you fly, you know very well, this location and you're familiar with it because you can't board a plane or get to the gate without going past the checkpoint where you show documents and i.d. and passports and they match all of those details so you are then allowed to go through and have your bag screened it. we have information here as well from the ronald reagan ucla medical center. they received three male victims from the lax airport shootings, one arrived in critical condition and two are listed in fair condition. the hospital has sent out its appreciation to the community and they are awaiting to get more information to the public regarding these victims here. but, the terminal itself is still closed. faa says it's a fluid situation
and at this point it's a minute by minute -- update on what will happen with flights both those arriving and departing here. we spoke with a number of eyewitnesses who told a similar story of hearing gunshots ring out in the airport, a crowded airport. one person we spoke with at the top of the hour said he was around 150 people when they essentially either hit the deck or ran. he was able to exit an emergency exit and ended up on the tarmac to speak to the police presence right after this man, an innocent passenger was handcuffed because everyone as officers are rushing in is getting looked at, someone now on the tarmac through an emergency door. he saw and witnessed authorities running to the situation and ultimately this -- the gun marn is in custody. we're awaiting more details on whether he was injured and what was described as an exchange of
gunfire between at least one la police officer who is based at the airport, and this individual. >> pleat wiete williams joins u >> what exactly was happening. why was this person shooting? why at that specific point? this point where you make your initial check of i.d., versus your ticket or boarding pass. what we're told here is that the i.d. checkpoint at the la airport in that terminal is at the bottom of an escalator and you've heard from eyewitnesses talking to us about coming down to the bottom and trying to get away.
>> this person comes down the escalator and approaches tsa employees and opens fire and then turns around and heads back up the escalator away from the checkpoint. so you know, if the person was -- if the motive was to try to shoot his way past the tsa to get further into the airport, the initial report seems to be in fact he turned around and went away from the checkpoint back towards the less secure areas of the airport. who knows exactly what was happening? and exactly where he was when he was engaged by la police who shot and we believe wounded him. we've heard conflicting reports all afternoon on whether he survived the shooting or not. all of the folks in out there are saying is he's in custody. i should probably point out something that i'm told by
several officials is not true. there's been some reporting that the gunman is an yofr duty or former tsa employee. i've been told by several federal officials that this is not the case. they believe they know who this person is. they say he's an american citizen in his early 20s, trying to verify his i.d. now. there's no indication at this point that he is a current or former tsa or tsa contractor. but, precisely who he is and what he was doing, we don't know. and you've probably seen this, tamron, the reports from -- the statement from the hospital, we believe the three tsa employees who were wound were taken to the ucla medical center, two in fair condition, one in critical condition. >> i'm so happy you adreszed this. there are a number of reports that this was a tsa employee or former employee. and people have been with the social media engagement asking
if that is the case. the information that you've been able to get is that it is not. we're watching as the los angeles mayor eric garcetti and l.a. police chief charlie beck now preparing to start the news conference. leon, can you tell me what you saw? >> you ready? >> yes. >> are you there? >> yes, i am. >> can you tell me what you saw in the airport? >> well, basically i was at the security checkpoint and just gotten through the security checkpoint and i got my belt and shoes were off -- >> leon, let me interrupt you really quickly. we're going to get an update from the mayor. >> i'm here with representatives of law enforcement and public safety community as well as the administrators of this airport. at about 9:20 this morning, most
of us know now that an incident occurred here at the airport with a shooter who was actively involved in terminal three. i'll be having chief gannon from airport police give you a rundown of what occurred. jena marie lindsay will inform the traveling public and loved ones what the situation is on the ground. i want to thank the law enforcement community for their excellent and coordinated response to this incident. we believe this to be a static situation now. a safe one for those that are in the airport and one in which we are all confident we will be able to conduct the investigation necessary to get all of the facts out that no doubt you and the public want to know. second, we're working very hard in the operations at the airport, if you haven't been able to be in touch with a loved one who is already through
security in one of terminals other than terminal three, flights have continued to take off at a slower pace, especially on the south side and they may be in the air right now. do not worry about that. we have flights continuing to land and gina marie lindsay will walk through that as well. this is a situation we're being pro active, if you have a flight this afternoon, we're encouraging at this point to stay away from the airport. not because of the safety situation but because the ongoing investigation makes it a very difficult place to come to and travel to. those folks that are here right now, we're encouraging folks to go to -- the terminals besides three are open and available. uso and airport hotels close by. this will be at least a series of hours until we have the other terminals open and for terminal three, an indefinite period of time. i would like to turn over to our chief on the ground here from
the police to give you a rundown of the incident this morning. >> patrick gannon. i'm the chief the airport police at l.a. international airport. as the mayor indicated, 9:20 this morning, an individual came into terminal three of this airport, pulled a assault rifle out of a bag and began to open fire in the terminal. he proceeded up into the screening area where tsa screeners are and continued shooting and went past the screeners back into the airport itself. personnel officers from armt police, los angeles airport police, responded immediately to the calls. they trapped the individual
through the airport and engaged him in gunfire in terminal three and were able to successfully take him into custody. we had an officer involved shooting that took place. as you can imagine, a large amount of chaos took place during this entire incident. we believe at this point that there was a lone shooter, that he acted at least right now was the only person that was armed in this incident. there was a tremendous amount of investigative work that will need to be done. i'll turn that over to the fbi in just a second and in a little bit. but nonetheless, we have done security sweeps through the entire airport. we feel confident that this particular incident is tied to terminal three and terminal three only. and that's all we have right now. there's a tremendous amount of investigative work that will
need to be accomplished. we have multiple victims that have been shot. and have been transported. and we've had some other injuries as well. in addition to the suspect himself. i don't have much more information than that. i don't want to give out information that may not be consistent later on. and so i i appreciate your cooperation and just getting this little bit of information out now. >> next we're going to hear from gina marie lindsay and let folks now in terms of what's happening at the airport with flights and traveling public and traffic around the airport -- >> hold on, one second please. we'll take questions after, sir. >> i want to let everyone know, technically, lax is still accepting incoming flights. but we're doing that at less
than our half of our normal arrival rate. we're only accepting those flights on the south air field, not accepting any flights on the north air field. passengers were ready when this incident happened have left on the aircraft or holding in the terminals. all of the amenities are available in the terminals. we have aircraft that are also situated on the west remote pads. they have not been unloaded yet. there is one or two diversions we are making to ontario airport. i want to encourage any of you who expect to have flights out of this airport this afternoon, please check with your airline. the best -- very best up to date information that you can get would be on our twitter line, which is lax underscore, official. again, lax, underscore, official. and that is going to be the most real time information you can
get. we understand there are many people that were not quite in the airport yet when this happened. we encourage you to find a place at the hotels along century boulevard and we will as soon as possible, we will let you know when we will try to get back to full operation. but understand that will take quite a deal of time. it's going to be a logistics carefully orchestrated logical ballet to get people reprocessed and back on flights. it's fair to say almost flight out of lax will be significantly late. thank you. >> next we have jim featherstone, fire chief, today is his first day as our interim fire chief and runs the general manager of our emergency management department. we'll spoke to both the fire and emergency operations center activities. >> good morning, jim
featherstone. at this time the lafd has treated seven patients and transported six to area hospitals. we have approximately 100 firefighters committed to this incident. as chief gannon said, the incident started around 9:20, 9:28 the first lafd resources were on the scene. in terms of more heightened awareness, the city's emergency operations center has been activated at a level one and has been for well over two hours now. the city is standing tall a. >> thank you. >> next hear from the chief of the los angeles police department who is involved in this and the operations as well. chief charlie beck. >> very briefly, i want to commend the mennd