Police: Man thought to have handgun at Orlando airport is in custody; no one hurt
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A man thought to have a handgun at the Orlando International Airport was taken into custody Tuesday night after a nearly three-hour standoff with police, authorities said.
No one was hurt, but the terrifying situation created confusion and uncertainty as travelers posted video and photos online showing police at the airport with their weapons drawn.
“Gunman is in custody. Everyone is safe,” Orlando police tweeted shortly after 10 p.m.
The police later said the gun was not real, but that he pointed it at officers and told them to shoot him.
Glorializ Colón Plaza, 20, told the Orlando Sentinel she was just getting off work from Virgin Atlantic airlines when she saw everyone hiding. She got off the elevator and saw the man on the floor near the rental car area. He was screaming, and cops had surrounded him.
“I couldn’t make out the words, but he was screaming really loud,” she said. “Everyone there told me right before this happened a man said to everyone: ‘You’re going to need mental therapy after this,’ then he pulled out a gun and everyone ran.”
Plaza said she didn’t hear any gunshots or see anyone injured.
“I saw all the cops with the long rifles and started shaking,” she said. “It didn’t seem real.”
Earlier this year, authorities say an Alaska man killed five people inside a baggage claim area at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
The incident at the Orlando airport was first reported about 7:24 p.m. Officers responded and cleared the first floor of Terminal A, airport spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell told the Sentinel. The entire terminal was eventually closed.
Images posted on social media showed a heavy police presence in the area and passengers were worried about missing flights. The Florida Highway Patrol tweeted earlier that all roads to the airport were shut down, with “zero exceptions.” Orlando police later tweeted that entrances were open but congested.