A convicted felon trying to board a plane from Atlanta with a gun escaped from the airport after it was accidentally fired in the security screening area.
Three people suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the ensuing panic.
The firing of weapons occurred when an employee of a screening checkpoint conducted a bag search after it was marked by an X-ray.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said the gun owner was advised not to touch the bag.
But when the security officer opened the room containing the gun, he “threw the passenger into the bag and grabbed a firearm, after which it was fired”.
The man, named as Kenny Wells, fled the airport.
Frightened travelers who feared an active shooter frolicked on the tarmac on Saturday, stopping planes during the busy Thanksgiving holiday season.
“More and more people started running – there was screaming,” said traveler Erika Zeidler.
Authorities are now looking for the 42-year-old gun owner accused of carrying a concealed weapon at a commercial airport, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, firing a firearm and reckless conduct.
Police said one person requested emergency medical attention after falling in another part of the airport, while two others complained of “shortness of breath”.
Two hours after the shot at. 13.30 was fired, got the airport “absolutely clear”.
Hartsfield-Jackson was the world’s busiest airport in 2021, according to the aviation analysis provider Official Airline Guide.
A record number of firearms were seized at U.S. airport checkpoints in just the first nine months of 2021, the TSA said.
At 13.30 today, a weapon was accidentally fired at ATL’s security screening area. There is NO active shooter at the airport. APD is on site. More information about the situation will be made available on our social media channels.
– Atlanta Airport (@ATLairport) November 20, 2021
Nationwide, TSA officers have stopped 4,495 air passengers from carrying firearms on their planes, surpassing the 4,432 firearms captured throughout 2019.
In Atlanta alone, 450 firearms were discovered at airport checkpoints by 2021.
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