Reports are coming in of a mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. According to the Broward County sheriff, there are “multiple people dead.”
The gunman is believed to be in custody according to NBC News.
The airport tweeted the incident which happened at a baggage claim, Terminal 2, at 12:55 E.T.
Television cameras showed the airport after the chaos had stopped. Firefighters and other emergency personnel were standing on the tarmac with large groups of passengers. The Federal Aviation Administration did not let anyone inside the airport but did not ground flights.
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Bob Foster, a passenger described being evacuated, saying, “We were told to hit the deck and stayed there until we were given the green light to leave. Needless to say, everybody’s pretty shaken up.”
Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary who was present, tweeted, “I’m at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. Shots have been fired. Everyone is running.”
Later he tweeted all was calm, “All seems calm now but the police aren’t letting anyone out of the airport – at least not the area where I am.”
The airport handles 73,000 travellers a day. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said that agents were going to help authorities and they were on their way to the scene.
Law enforcement expert, Jim Cavanaugh said when speaking to MSNBC, “You’re trying to understand, is this a one-off guy? Regardless of motive, is he alone, or is there something else. We hate to think that way, but that’s the requirement for police commanders — to think that way.”
Fatal shooting incidents are rare at airports due to their tight security. In November 2016, a disgruntled former employee carried out a mass shooting at the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. One Southwest Airlines worker was killed.
This story is ongoing.