An actor, fresh off an audition dressed as the masked hero Zorro, seems to have shut down Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), sparking fear of an active shooter situation on Sunday night. Police arrested him, responding to claims that a man had opened fire near a baggage claim, which had led officials to evacuate thousands of passengers and to ground flights.
“Report of shooting at LAX proven to be LOUD NOISES only No Shots Fired No Injuries investigation continues to locate source,” tweeted Andy Neiman, commanding officer of the LAPD media relations division.
At around 9 p.m. local time, following reports of a shooting, the entrance to the airport was blocked and people ran screaming from the terminal.
Police searching LAX after reports. All precautions being taken to ensure safety of public. Remain calm. Thank you for your cooperation
— LA Airport PD (@LAAirportPD) August 29, 2016
One passenger recalled an officer screaming, “If you’re forgetting anything it’s not worth your life, everyone move now!” Britain’s The Daily Mail reported that flights were grounded as authorities spent four hours searching the terminal. The scare turned out to be a false alarm, with one theory claiming that “cheering” for Usain Bolt might have been misinterpreted as gunfire.
Here is a photo of the evacuation:
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) August 29, 2016
According to this woman on the ground, a Delta employee caused the ruckus, calling 911 and hiding in the bathroom.
— Alison Arkin (@Cronikeys) August 29, 2016
NBC anchor Lester Holt recalled arriving at the airport amid the chaos.
Arriving at LAX off flight when people started pouring out of term 4 onto Tarmac. Security said "shots fired. Run!" Now in vehicle on taxiwy
— Lester Holt (@LesterHoltNBC) August 29, 2016
The masked black man whom police arrested had no idea why police targeted him. “I come back out making a phone call and I’m sitting over here waiting on my ride, next thing I know LAPD is all over me. They were coming after me for whatever reason,” the actor said.
Video shows police arresting the man, guns drawn. As they close in, he says, “It’s a plastic sword!” A woman in the background says, “He didn’t do anything,” before the man gets cuffed and placed on the ground. After a few minutes, police realized he was not a threat and let him go without charging him.
The man who filmed the arrest admitted the he “cannot confirm that Zorro man caused the ensuing chaos, but it would be one helluva coincidence.”
See the video of the arrest, and Zorro’s response, on the next page!
Here is the video of Zorro’s arrest at LAX:
Here is his recollection of the event:
LAX INCIDENT: Zorro's take. pic.twitter.com/yxU90z6H2g
— .:. (@Okapuer) August 29, 2016