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, stormed a security check point and struck one border agent with a machete, cutting her right arm, and targeted two other agents with pesticide 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 travelers 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, had recently received his chauffeur's license and had "little or no criminal history," according to Normand.
Boston Globe journalist Farah Stockman was at the airport when White stormed the check point and described scenes of panic as travelers sought cover and said White body was covered in blood.
"People had heard gunshots. Everyone was hiding behind chairs and in doorways. Made our way to exit. Body was lying in a pool of blood," she posted on Twitter.
"Lots of terrified pple. Women crying. Someone apparently fell down and that created panic. Cops ran in, creating more panic," she added.
Stockman posted a photo of a handcuffed White on his stomach as medics treated a woman's arm nearby.
Photos elsewhere on social media showed White being taken away on a bloodied gurney.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the situation was under control after the incident and that the area where the attack occurred would re-open later Saturday.
"The situation at Louis Armstrong International Airport is under control and the airport is secure. There is no threat to the public at this time, and the airport is returning to normal operations," he said in a statement.
"TSA agents, law enforcement officers and airport officials all acted quickly to stop the perpetrator and secure the scene." Airport authorities said the rest of the building remained open and flights were not canceled as a result of the shooting.