A passenger accidentally discharges a gun at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport around 1:30 p.m. Saturday, causing panic in passengers who flee, halting departures Saturday afternoon, according to officials.
In a screening area a transportation security officer was checking a bag after the X-ray machine identified a prohibited item, according to the Transportation Security Administration. (TSA).
The TSA officer told the passenger not to touch the bag, “but as the officer opened the compartment containing the prohibited item, the passenger suddenly reached into the bag and grabbed a firearm, at which point it discharged,” the TSA said in a written statement.
Reportedly the passenger ran out an exit. Atlanta Police Department (APD) said they were investigating the circumstances around the incident but it was not immediately clear if any arrests had been made.
A spokesman with the (APD) said no injuries were reported, however, the TSA said early reports indicated three people had injuries not thought to be threatening. No addition details on injures were known at the release of this report.
Robert Spinden, the Transportation Security Administration’s federal security director for Georgia, said in a news conference. The property was flagged for a “secondary search,” he said.
“During that secondary search, the passenger lunged into his property, grabbing a firearm that was located inside, which ultimately discharged,” Spinden said. “The passenger then fled the security checkpoint through an adjacent exit lane with his firearm.”
“We’re fortunate that when the firearm went off, nobody was seriously injured,” Spinden said.
The airport tweeted, “There is NOT an active shooter at the airport. APD is on the scene. More information about the situation will be made available on our social media channels.”
A spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed to The hill in a statement that there had been “a brief ground stop at ATL from !:38 until 2:13 p.m. local time today, adding that it had since been lifted.”
The accidental shooting comes as holiday travel and flights begin to ramps up. Lisa Farbstein, a spokesperson for the TSA, reported on Saturday that officials had screened their highest number of passengers yet since early 2020.
The TSA said “We want to remind every passenger of the importance of checking personal belongings for dangerous items before leaving for the airport.”
At the time of this report, it has now been confirmed that the Man who had the gun was wanted, and fled the scene for that reason. A scary sight for sure in Atlanta. Watch the video below.