“We just hit the deck. Everybody in the line hit the floor and shots just continued,” said Xavier Savant, who was waiting in the security line where the shooting took place. He described it as a “Bam! Bam! Bam!” burst of gunfire.
Savant said people bolted through the metal detectors and ran into the terminal.
“My whole thing was to get away from him,” said Savant, an advertising creative director who was heading to New York with his family for a weekend trip.
As police searched for other possible shooters, they escorted travelers out of the airport, which continued operating but stopped some flights from taking off or landing.
Across the U.S., aviation officials stopped LAX-bound flights from taking off from other airports, causing delays around the country. Some Los Angeles-bound flights that were already in the air were diverted to other airports.
At least three other TSA officers were wounded, said J. David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees.
The officer who was killed was a behavioral detection officer, Cox said. Such officers are stationed throughout the airport, looking for suspicious behavior, he said.
Ben Rosen was sitting at the Starbucks eating oatmeal when he heard gunfire erupt and saw people running in all directions or crouching. He grabbed his phone and tried to lie as flat on the ground as he could.
Police showed up with guns drawn, shouting, “This is not a drill! Hands up!”
People put their hands up and then were led out of the terminal to the adjacent international terminal, Rosen said. As they were led out they saw broken glass from a window that looked as if it had been shot out. Rosen left his bag behind.
Six people were taken to the hospital, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. It was unclear whether the gunshot victims were among them.
It was not the first shooting at LAX. On July 4, 2002, a limousine driver opened fire at the airport’s El Al ticket counter, killing an airline employee and a person who was dropping off a friend at the terminal. Police killed the man.