LOS ANGELES - A lone gunman stormed into a crowded terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport and opened fire with an assault weapon on Friday, killing a security agent and wounding six other people before he was shot and captured, authorities said.
The gunfire in Terminal 3 touched off panic and chaos at one of the world's busiest airports as passengers fled or dove for cover behind racks of luggage as police shouted warnings to travellers and quickly evacuated the terminal.
Departing flights were halted and arriving planes were diverted to other airports, as streets surrounding the airport were shut down, snarling traffic for miles around.
"An individual came into Terminal 3 of this airport, pulled an assault rifle out of a bag and began to open fire in the terminal," Patrick Gannon, chief of the Los Angeles Airport Police, told a news conference.
Gannon said the gunman, who appeared to be acting alone, made his way past the screening gates and into a food court area, where law enforcement officers tracked him down, shot him at least once and took him into custody. His condition was not immediately clear.
"The suspect got back very far into a terminal. There is a Burger King that is quite a ways away from the screening station and he was able to get back there," Gannon said.
An FBI spokeswoman identified the suspect as 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia, a resident of the Los Angeles area. Several news organizations reported that Ciancia also has ties to New Jersey, and that police there were serving a search warrant at his childhood home in Pennsville.
The US Transportation Security Administration, which runs security screenings at US airports, said that multiple agents had been shot, one fatally. The agency did not identify the slain agent, who was the first TSA officer to be killed in the line of duty.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles County Coroner said it was handling one person who was killed in the shooting, a man approximately 40 years old who was not identified by name. It was not immediately clear if that person was the TSA agent.
Two US officials, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters that federal investigators were looking into whether the gunman had targeted TSA agents during the rampage.