By Liz Miller
Observer Staff Writer 

LAX Shooter Reports Unfounded; Man in Zorro Costume Detained

Partial evacuations caused panic, traffic jams, and delayed flights


August 31, 2016

still from video by Sam Macon

A man in a Zorro costume was detained by police.

Officials at Los Angeles International Airport were scrambling to return to normal operations late Sunday after the report of a shooter proved to be false, but led to traffic jams, delayed flights, and some evacuations.

The report of an active shooter just after 9 pm brought police quickly to LAX, where the blocked off both departure and arrival traffic lanes.

At 9:15, the Los Angeles Police Department tweeted "Police searching LAX after reports. All precautions being taken to ensure safety of public. Remain calm."

A short time later, police said no shots had been fired.

"Report of shooting at LAX proven to be LOUD NOISES only. No shots fired; no injuries. Investigation continues to locate source," tweeted Andy Neiman, the commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department's Media Relations section.

By 10:45, both upper level departure and lower level arrival roads were reopened into the Central Terminal area. Evacuated passengers at all terminals had to go through the security screening process all over again before boarding their flights.

A ground stop initiated for flights departing for LAX lasted about 20 minutes before it was lifted at 10 p.m.

Passengers planning to fly out of LAX Sunday night were encouraged to check with their airline to see if their flight was delayed by the evacuation.

It was not immediately clear how many flights might be impacted by the incident.

Photos and videos posted on social media showed people running out the terminal doors and traffic jammed around the airport.

Twitter user Sam Macon posted a video of police detaining a man wearing a Zorro costume, who falls to the ground then crawls away from the building, and lays spread eagle, apparently in response to police orders.

One witness told KTLA that she had seen the Zorro greet a woman outside terminal 7, then the woman said she had to go back in to get her bag. Afterward, the police yelled at him and pulled a gun, so everyone tried to get away fast. Some people dropped their bags or even tried to climb up the luggage chutes to hide.

Neither LAX nor the police have provided further information about the man in the Zorro costume,


Traffic was jammed near LAX as police investigated the report of an active shooter.


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