Man in Zorro Costume Questioned at LAX After Reports of Shooting Cause Cause Airport Chaos
A false report of gunfire sent hundreds of people to run in fear for their lives at LAX Sunday night, and the appearance of Zorro did little to ease the chaos.
The reports of gunfire inside one of the nation’s busiest airports were "proven to be loud noises only," according to authorities. The LAPD reported no injuries.
Police responded in force with guns drawn. The entire airport was locked down for more than two hours causing gridlock on the ground and in the air.
A man donning a Zorro outfit was briefly detained by police. He was later let go after it was discovered the unidentified man who had come from an audition and did not have time to change. He was not responsible for the incident.
Individual in Zorro costume has been detained by @LAAirportPD— LAX Airport (@flyLAXairport) August 29, 2016
He spoke to ABC News, saying: "They turned me over, put handcuffs on me and then told me what was going on...they searched me. What happened was somebody called and said there's a man in dark clothing out here. They got scared, I guess. But I'm sitting here calling for transportation. Next thing I know, they let me go. They explained to me that crazy stuff happens in the airports."
NBC's Lester Holt was caught up in the pandemonium and reported live on Facebook.
He also updated via Twitter.
Arriving at LAX off flight when people started pouring out of term 4 onto Tarmac. Security said "shots fired. Run!" Now in vehicle on taxiwy— Lester Holt (@LesterHoltNBC) August 29, 2016
Witness tells me she heard "pops" in lax term 4. Others say they just heard "run!" Those evacuated to Tarmac just allowed back in.— Lester Holt (@LesterHoltNBC) August 29, 2016
Safely off the LAX Tarmac. PD search of terminals yields no confirm of shots fired. I heard "run" as crowd ran toward us but no shots.— Lester Holt (@LesterHoltNBC) August 29, 2016
Passengers ran through the terminals and on the tarmac at about 8:45 p.m. Some passengers ran for cover believing that the airport was under siege.
By 11 p.m., all terminals were reopened and passengers were able to go about and travel again.
The incident is similar to an incident two weeks ago at JFK Airport in New York City, where a shooting was falsely reported. The pandemonium was believed to have been caused by loud spectators watching the Olympics.
At an Orlando, Florida, mall Thursday, shoppers believed they heard gunfire that ended up being the sound of balloons popping during a controlled fire alarm test. Nine people were injured and the entire mall was evacuated.