December 2, 2021

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A passenger ‘lunged’ into his bag and discharged a gun after a TSA officer spotted it via x-ray

atlanta airport

Passengers gather near Delta airline’s counter as they check-in their luggage at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., May 23, 2021.Reuters/Carlos Barria

  • A passenger accidentally discharged a gun at a checkpoint in a busy Atlanta airport on Saturday.

  • The TSA said the man “lunged” into his bag when the gun was flagged by the x-ray machine.

  • The man then fled the airport, still holding his gun. Police are searching for him.

A passenger sparked panic and chaos at an Atlanta airport on Saturday after he “lunged” into his bag and discharged a firearm that had been flagged on a security x-ray machine, the TSA said Saturday.

An officer at the main security checkpoint of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport noticed the gun via the x-ray machine, told the passenger not to touch the bag, and then opened the bag’s compartment containing the gun, TSA officials said in a statement. But the passenger then “lunged into the bag and grabbed a firearm, at which point it discharged.”

The passenger fled the scene, running out of the adjacent airport exit while still holding the gun, TSA federal security director Robert Spinden told reporters at a press conference.

Police identified the suspect as 42-year-old Kenny Wells and said they’ve issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of carrying a concealed weapon at a commercial airport, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, discharging a firearm, and reckless conduct.

“We are actively pursuing this individual as we speak,” Maj. Reginald Moorman of the Atlanta Police Department said at the press conference

The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport called the incident an “accidental discharge” and emphasized that there was no active shooter. The incident occurred around 1:30 p.m. and the Atlanta Police Department gave an “all-clear” by 3:20 p.m., the TSA said.

By Saturday evening, the airport said operations were “quickly returning to normal.”

The TSA said three people received non-life-threatening injuries.

Passengers told Insider’s Katie Balevic they heard screams and saw waves of “terrified people” running to safety. A number of photos and videos on social media showed the frenzied aftermath of the discharge. Passengers ran or took cover on the ground, knocking over security barriers and abandoning luggage.

Read the original article on Insider

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