A man with an assault rifle shot and killed a Transportation Security Administration agent and wounded two other people Friday at Los Angeles International Airport's Terminal 3 before he was shot by armed police officers and taken into custody.
The Associated Press reported that law enforcement officials have identified the shooting suspect as Paul Ciancia, 23, a New Jersey man who was living in Los Angeles.
An official who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity said the man was dressed in fatigues and carried a bag with a handwritten note that said he "wanted to kill TSA and pigs."
Mayor Eric Garcetti said the gunman was carrying more than 100 additional rounds for the rifle, while another official said he had five full 30-round magazines.
The slain TSA agent was the first to be killed on duty since the agency was founded after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The shooting took place around 9:20 a.m. PT, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a briefing.
Traveller Robert Perez told the television station CBS2, the local CBS affiliate, that TSA agents came through the terminal and yelled that a man had a gun.
“I heard popping, and everybody dropped to the ground,” Perez said.
Within an hour of the shooting, the situation seemed to be under control, with no suggestion of further gunfire. A triage area outside the airport – with three coloured mats laid out for wounded people – was seeing little use.
Los Angeles airport police Chief Patrick Gannon said a gunman pulled an assault rifle from a bag and began firing in the terminal. The gunman then fired shots at a passenger screening checkpoint and kept shooting in the secure area of the terminal, he said.
Gannon added that officials believe only one gunman was involved.
"We believe this to be a static situation now," Garcetti said.
Los Angeles police Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger said the gunman was apparently injured in an exchange of gunfire with officers.
Fire department officials said five people were taken to area hospitals, including the gunman, the TSA agent who died, two other people who suffered gunshot wounds, and a person with a broken ankle.
Three male victims were taken to UCLA medical centre, where one person was in critical condition and two others were reported to be in fair condition.
The investigation into the shooting is being handled by the FBI.
LAX's Terminal 3 was evacuated and cordoned off, and arrival and departure roads to the airport, in addition to Century Boulevard, were closed.
Aerial shots from the British television station Sky2 showed buses were transporting passengers who had disembarked from planes onto the runway area.
Police conducted a search at Terminal 3 to make sure that there are no other gunmen or victims.
WestJet flights affected
Flight 1422 Edmonton to L.A.: diverted back to Edmonton
Flight 1423 L.A. to Edmonton: cancelled
Flight 1510 Calgary to L.A.: diverted to San Diego,
Flight 1511 L.A. to Calgary: cancelled
In the wake of the shooting, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration instituted a "ground stop," meaning flights scheduled to depart for Los Angeles were not allowed to take off. Arriving flights already in the air are either landing at LAX or being diverted to other airports in the region.
Los Angeles World Airports CEO Gina Marie Lindsey said the halt to flights arriving at LAX was lifted at 4 p.m. PT.
She said that between the time of the shooting and 3 p.m. PT a total of 746 flights were affected, including 46 diverted to other airports and the remainder held at LAX or at their point of origin.
She said LAX's Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 were being "repopulated," first with TSA, airline and concessions employees, and then with travellers. Lindsey added that the airport's Terminal 3 remains closed and that travellers should contact their airlines for flight status updates.
Terminal 3 is used by Virgin America, Virgin Australia, JetBlue and other airlines.
"I was in the Virgin lounge upstairs. Saw everyone pour out of the terminal onto the tarmac," tweeted Grant Imahara, who is one of the hosts of the television show Mythbusters. "Then, I heard shots fired outside."
"Virgin promptly locked the lounge doors. About 10 minutes later, LAPD armed with automatic weapons arrived to secure the area."