The accidental discharge of a passenger’s weapon in a security area of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport caused widespread panic Saturday afternoon, prompting a brief halt of departing flights over the busy travel weekend.
The incident occurred around 1:30 p.m. ET when a “prohibited item” was detected in a passenger’s property while going through the X-ray screening at the security checkpoint, Robert Spinden, the Transportation Security Administration’s federal security director for Georgia, said in a news conference. The property was flagged for a “secondary search,” he said.
“During that secondary search, the passenger lunged into his property, grabbing a firearm that was located inside, which ultimately discharged,” Spinden said. “The passenger then fled the security checkpoint through an adjacent exit lane with his firearm.”
“We’re fortunate that when the firearm went off, nobody was seriously injured,” Spinden said.
Three people suffered non-life-threatening injuries, the TSA said in a statement. Atlanta police had previously said no injuries were reported.
According to a source familiar with the situation, the injured were not shot but instead hurt during the evacuation. All of the injured were adults, the source said, and two were transported to the hospital. The discharged round went into the property of the person who brought the weapon, the source said.