LA airport shooting: Flights halted amid 'chaos and fear'

LOS ANGELES - Outgoing flights have been halted at the Los Angeles International Airport following a shooting on Friday, as eyewitnesses reported chaos immediately after gunfire was heard.

"The general public is being held back at law enforcement block. Other than arriving flights, flight operations have been temporary held," airport spokeswoman Katherine Alvarado said in a statement e-mailed to Reuters.

The Federal Aviation Administration said a “ground stop” was in affect for all flights heading to Los Angeles, meaning planes in any other airport in the country can’t take off for the city, said AP.

"I heard a popping sound, and everybody was diving for cover," passenger Robert Perez told CNN affiliate KCAL/KCBS. "The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) said there was a shooting in the terminal and evacuate the building."

"Everybody started to panic," Perez said.

“People started saying there’s a shooter, there’s a shooter,” Ms Natalie Morin, who was heading to San Francisco for a graduate school interview, told AP.

Fox Sports national columnist Bill Reiter who was also at the airport during the gunfire said on his Twitter account: "After the initial burst of gunfire and hiding, people started jumping over one another, jumping off chairs, pushing each other. Chaos & fear."

At least two people were injured in the shooting at the airport but LA Police Department spokesman Guss Villanueva told KTLA 5 television that there was "no mass casualty incident".

“About 9.30 this morning (12.30am Saturday morning in Singapore), there were some shots fired on or near Terminal 3, obviously some people were injured, two possibly three... and we may have a suspect in custody,” LAPD spokesman Gus Villanueva told KTLA television.

“My understanding is that LAX PD are searching the immediate area to ensure that there are no other suspects,” he said, according to AP.

Live TV footage showed armed police on the top of parking structures, apparently still looking for a possible gunman, while multiple ambulances were parked outside a terminal building, AFP reported.

One suspect was wounded and a second suspect has been taken into custody; a third person, a TSA airport worker was also shot, according to media. Terminals 2 and 3 were reportedly evacuated.

The White House said that US President Barack Obama has been briefed on the incident and that the White House is in touch with law enforcement officials on the incident.