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Accidental Gunshot Sends Travelers Fleeing at Airport

Passengers run from security checkpoint
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2021 4:05 PM CST
Atlanta Airport Has Scare After Gun Fires by Accident
Passengers wait to go through security last year at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.   (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

(Newser) – A gunshot caused panic at the Atlanta airport on Saturday afternoon, sending passengers fleeing and briefly putting a halt to departing flights. The weapon was fired accidentally, officials at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport said. City police said no one was injured, CNN reports. "There is not an active shooter," a post on the airport's Twitter account said. The gun went off in a security screening area in the domestic terminal, per CNBC, as the Thanksgiving travel period began. No information was released about the weapon. An investigation has begun, airport officials said.

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An airport spokesman told CNN that security personnel spotted the gun at the checkpoint. Andrew Gobeil said it went off when either an officer or the passenger, who was not identified, reached for the gun. The passenger then left the airport, he said, though officials know his identity. "They are going to go out and they are going to question him and detain him shortly," Gobeil said. Officials said the airport quickly resumed normal operations. A video posted online showed people on the floor in the security area, per WXIA. Another showed abandoned luggage.

One traveler was sitting in a concourse restaurant when people began running by. "We thought they were late for a flight, and then more and more people started running," Erika Zeidler said, per CNN. "There was some screaming and then somebody stopped and said, 'There's a shooter, you need to go.'" Eva Witesman, who was past security and waiting for a tram, tweeted that she heard yelling and saw "people rushing down the escalator from the security area." Some passengers got off planes and milled about on the tarmac. (Read more Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport stories.)

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