By Dan Weikel
Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — Police have confirmed that reports of an active shooter that panicked passengers Sunday night inside several terminals at Los Angeles International Airport were false, authorities said.
Reports of gunfire in Terminals 6, 7 and 8 were made about 8:46 p.m., prompting airport police to set up a command post and shut down the central terminal area to incoming traffic.
As a further precaution, flight operations were stopped from 9 to 9:30 p.m. on the airport’s two southern runways because passengers, who self-evacuated from the terminals, ran onto the restricted airfield. Later in the evening, authorities prepared to allow passengers who fled from the terminals to re-enter baggage claim areas and gather the luggage they had left behind.
Actress Anne Dudek of Santa Monica was one of the travelers who fled from Terminal 7 after her United Airlines flight arrived about 8:30 p.m.
She said that she went down the escalator to baggage claim about 8:45 p.m. and a man who appeared to be panicked ran by, warning everyone to run because he said people were being shot.
“People started dropping bags and running out of the terminal,” she said. “Panic spread.”
Dudek said she did not hear any shots, but decided to leave Terminal 7. She ran across the street, headed through the parking structure and made her way to the area near Southwest Airlines. She eventually made it to her parked car and left the airport.
Authorities said that Terminals 1, 2, 3, 5 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal were cleared by Los Angeles Airport Police and passengers were allowed to return.
Meanwhile, passengers were not allowed to re-enter Terminals 4, 6, 7 and 8 because they were still being screened Sunday night by explosives-detecting K-9 units.
The central terminal area also remained closed to incoming traffic. However, motorists were allowed to leave.