Atlanta airport shooter was employee of the travel agency that employee thought he heard a gunshot

Fireworks or bullet fragments could have blasted a fragment from a high-capacity gun magazine that wounded two people at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Friday afternoon, authorities said.

The people, both employees of a travel agency at the airport, were injured after an employee thought he heard a gunshot and started running, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. He realized the sound was from fireworks, police said. The suspect, a 59-year-old airport worker, surrendered peacefully in the baggage claim area, and authorities were investigating the scene.

Authorities don’t know what’s been firing, and there is no indication that there is a threat to airport-goers.

“No shots were fired by the shooter,” Atlanta police Chief George Turner said in a news conference. He said the gunman, who was not identified, was cooperative and had no criminal record.

Airport police gave the names of the people injured, the Journal-Constitution reported. They were 53-year-old Beverly Blanchard, who was rushed to a hospital in critical condition, and 57-year-old Patrick Leslie, who was hurt when he fell. Both were believed to be a customer of the travel agency, said Erica Gledhill, a spokesperson for the Travel Industry Association of Atlanta. Blanchard was in surgery Friday night, but Leslie is doing better, Ms. Gledhill said.

The airport said there was no “immediate danger” to travelers as a result of the incident, and flights continued as scheduled through the evening, the airport said.

Pictures posted on social media showed police arriving at the scene, heavily armed officers walking at a terminal entrance and a police car with flashing lights parked outside. Police warned people that they should go home.

Security was “enhanced” at the airport, the company that operates the airport said on Twitter. The airport said it would bring in a SWAT team.

Airport police urged people to avoid the airport as they investigated the scene. They advised people to stick with their original flights.

They said officers would respond to the scene as long as needed.

Please keep the injured in your thoughts. Please cooperate and answer any questions by calling (404) 404-9000 x355. — Atlanta Airport (@ATLairport) March 2, 2020

“We are doing everything we can to guarantee everyone’s safety,” the airport said on Twitter.

Read the full story at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


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