‘Chaos’: World’s Busiest Airport Shuts Down After Felon Accidentally Fires Gun During TSA Screening


Chaos erupted Saturday at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport after a gun went off at a Transportation Security Administration screening checkpoint, sparking mass panic as flights were halted.

As a result of the incident, Kenny Wells, 42, is facing charges of carrying a concealed weapon at a commercial airport, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, discharging a firearm and reckless conduct, police said, according to the Daily Mail. 

Atlanta Police Department Airport Precinct Commander Reginald L. Moorman said police are hunting for Wells.

Robert Spinden, the TSA’s federal security director for Georgia, said that as a passenger was being screened at about 1:30 p.m., a “prohibited item” was detected, according to CNN.

“During that secondary search, the passenger lunged into his property, grabbing a firearm that was located inside, which ultimately discharged,” Spinden said. “The passenger then fled the security checkpoint through an adjacent exit lane with his firearm.”

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“We’re fortunate that when the firearm went off, nobody was seriously injured,” Spinden said.

Three people were injured, according to the TSA. CNN said those injured were hurt in the panic that accompanied efforts to evacuate the area where the gunshot took place.

Airport operations at the world’s busiest airport, which was jammed with holiday travelers, were halted for more than 90 minutes until a clear picture of the incident emerged and it was clear that there was no danger to passengers.

Reports of an active shooter emerged.

Multiple videos showing the aftermath of the incident were posted on social media.

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Traveler Erika Zeidler said she first noticed some people were running.

“We thought they were late for a flight, and then more and more people started running,” she said. “There was some screaming and then somebody stopped and said, ‘There’s a shooter, you need to go.’”

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Milaina Latsis of Flowery Branch, Georgia, was at the airport with her mother, two children and their father. Before going through security, they made a bathroom pit stop “and thank God we did,” she said, according to The New York Times.

“It took us a minute to register what was going on, but everyone at TSA was ducking, and we had a clear shot to the exit, so we just ran,” she said. “At this point, it’s just total panic.”

She said for a moment, they stood in place. Then, she said, Nathan Hancock, the father of the children, yelled,  “Let’s go! Run, run, run!”

TSA announced that 2.2 million travelers flew last Friday, the highest total since the pandemic began.





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