Police detain man dressed as Zorro just before airport panic at LAX
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A false report of gunshots that sent panicked travelers fleeing from Los Angeles International Airport came right after officers with weapons drawn detained a masked man dressed in black and possibly carrying a sword, officials said.
The sword was plastic, but soon after, hundreds of passengers raced onto streets or the tarmac, causing major flight delays that the airport was still recovering from today. Video shows at least six officers confronting the man, who was dressed as the fictional crime fighter Zorro, outside Terminal 7 about 8:40 p.m. Sunday.
False reports of an active shooter quickly spread, and passengers in five terminals evacuated or pushed through security checkpoints, airport police said.
Officers with rifles stormed the airport but uncovered no evidence of a gunman or shots fired.
It's similar to a false alarm that led to a panicked evacuation two weeks ago at Kennedy Airport in New York, when a boisterous celebration of the Olympics may have been misinterpreted as gunfire, authorities say.
The Los Angeles scare created a mess, with three terminals shut down, roads closed and flights held in the air and on the ground, but no reported injuries. About 280 flights were delayed, while at least 27 flights were diverted to other airports and two were canceled, airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles said.