LOS ANGELES, Cali. (NBC News) -- A gunman shot and killed a Transportation Security Administration worker Friday at Los Angeles International Airport, federal authorities told NBC News.
The authorities told NBC News that the gunman was in custody and that at least two other people were wounded, including a second TSA employee. It was not clear whether the shooter was among the wounded.
The shooting happened at a screening station where fliers show their IDs and boarding passes, said Nico Melendez, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration. The agent was shot in the leg, he said.
Federal authorities told NBC News that the shooter appeared to have a rifle or other long gun.
Witnesses and police said that the shooting happened at about 12:30 p.m. ET at Terminal 3, which serves Virgin America, among other airlines. Nick Pugh told NBC Los Angeles that he was waiting in line for security on the upper mezzanine when he heard eight to 10 shots.
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“We were just standing there in line and somebody started shooting,” he said. “Everyone dropped to the floor and started crawling along the ground, abandoning their suitcases.”
Another witness told MSNBC that there was an initial round of shots, then a pause, then more shots. An airline worker told them, “Go out! Go out!” the witness said. People streamed down the stairs and onto the tarmac for safety, he said.
Video from NBC Los Angeles showed emergency vehicles outside the terminal. The station reported that several people, including what appeared to be a TSA agent, had been loaded into ambulances.
The Federal Aviation Administration grounded flights taking off from LAX and those that were bound for LAX and had not already taken off. President Barack Obama was briefed on the shooting, the White House said in a statement.
In 2002, an Egyptian national opened fire at the El Al ticket counter at LAX, killing two Israelis before he was shot dead. Authorities ruled it a terrorist incident, even though the shooter was not tied to a known group.
LAX served about 64 million fliers last year. More than 1,500 flights take off and land there every day.
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