LAX Evacuated After Crash Sparks Gun Alert

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Travellers already on edge after a recent shooting assume the worse after the sound of a car crash echoes through the airport.

Thousands of passengers have been evacuated after a vehicle crash sparked a gun alert at Los Angeles airport, just weeks after a man opened fire inside the terminal building.

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Police said a woman driving on the airport’s arrivals loop fell ill and lost control of her SUV, hitting another woman on a sidewalk.

The vehicle then slammed into a parking garage near Terminal 5, the sounds of which spurred reports of gunfire among the passengers inside the terminal, many of whom fled the building.

Immediately after the crash, police in neighbouring Terminal 4 received an anonymous call reporting a gunman at a specific gate.

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The call prompted police to order a complete evacuation of both terminals while they investigated.

However, no gunman was found and the terminals were deemed safe.

Evacuated passengers were allowed to return, but had to be re-screened by security, causing a huge bottleneck of people trying to re-enter the airport.

Chief Patrick Gannon said: “It took us a couple of hours to clear those terminals. It created quite a disturbance here at the airport.”

An estimated 4,600 passengers were affected by the incidents, according to LAX spokeswoman Nancy Castles.

Delta and American Airlines reported a combined total of 60 delayed flights, both inbound and outbound.

Sergeant Mark Guardado, of Los Angeles Police Department, said both women were injured in the crash, the pedestrian seriously.

He said travellers and police already were “on edge” following the November 1 shooting that left one Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer dead.

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Authorities say Paul Ciancia, 23, had a vendetta against the federal government and was targeting TSA officers when he pulled a semi-automatic rifle from a bag and shot Gerardo Hernandez.

Two other TSA employees and an airline passenger were wounded before airport police shot the attacker.

Ciancia, who was released from hospital this week, has been charged with murder.

He could face the death penalty if convicted. Read More

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