Video: Chaos as gun accidentally goes off at US international airport

Incident occurred after passenger tried to check in bag with a firearm inside


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Published: Sun 21 Nov 2021, 8:28 AM

Last updated: Sun 21 Nov 2021, 9:05 AM

A gun that accidentally discharged in Atlanta’s busy international airport sent dozens of passengers scurrying for cover and briefly resulted in the facility’s closure Saturday just days before the Thanksgiving holiday.

“There is not an active shooter,” the Hartfield-Jackson airport said on Twitter. “There was an accidental discharge at the Airport. There is no danger to passengers or employees. An investigation is ongoing.”

No injuries were reported.

A spokesman for the airport said that the incident unfolded after it was determined there was a weapon in a bag at the screening checkpoints.

“When either the officer went in or when the passenger went in to get it, it accidentally discharged,” airport director of communications Andrew Gobeil told CNN.


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As the weapon went off, the man who brought it “took off,” Gobeil said, emphasizing that authorities know who the individual is and that information is still forthcoming.

The loud noise sent many people ducking and running, knocking over suitcases and stanchions as they scrambled to escape, film aired by CNN showed.

People could be heard shouting “Get down! Get down!” while others slid across the floor. Some people took shelter in airport restaurants, while others even ran onto the tarmac.

The discharge caused continuing confusion and chaos.

One CNN reporter, whose plane was just arriving, said she heard the pilot announce an “active shooter” while telling passengers they would not yet be allowed to deplane.

The incident occurred around 1:30 pm (1830 GMT). The airport returned to normal operations later in the day.

A controversial Georgia law passed in 2014 allows people to carry permitted guns through public areas of airports, as well as bars, schools and churches.

But it is illegal, under federal law, to carry a weapon into a Transportation Security Administration screening area.

The incident Saturday came on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.


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