Man attacks officers at New Orleans airport with wasp spray and machete

WASHINGTON (AFP) - New Orleans police shot a man three times at the Louis Armstrong International Airport on Friday after he attacked border agents with a machete and wasp spray, officials said.

The suspect, Richard White, struck one border agent with a machete, cutting her right arm, and targeted two other agents with the spray, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand told reporters.

A police officer shot White three times as he tried to run away, striking him in the chest, face and thigh.  Newell said White was in hospital where he remained unresponsive.

The three Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents were attacked at the pre check-in line while screening boarding passes, sparking panic among travellers who scrambled as shots were fired.  One passenger was injured with a graze on the arm during the incident, while others sustained minor cuts.

It was not clear whether White was a passenger or what his motivation was, Normand said.

“We have no information at the present time... of any connection between the perpetrator and anyone here at the airport,” he said.  “We don’t know whether or not this individual was a member of the traveling public, we suspect not.”

White had worked as a taxi driver and had recently received his chauffeur’s licence. He had “little or no criminal history,” according to Normand.