The accident occurred on Saturday at about 1.30 p.m. local time, airport representatives said.
“There is no threat to travelers and staff,” the statement said, while informing at the same time that an investigation was underway.
CNN quoted Atlanta Police Sgt. Yarios Dougherty as saying: “There was an accidental firing of a firearm near a major security checkpoint. Officers are focused on investigating the circumstances of the incident.”
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), all departing flights at the airport have been suspended. Soon the decision was overturned.
Chaos and panic at the airport
Some witnesses to the event spoke of chaos and disorder. – Suddenly more and more people started running and shouting that there was an attacker – this is reported by a CNN passenger, Erica Zeidler.
Another passenger, Greg Romero, said airport staff had disabled all escalators. “Right now, the airport staff are doing a really good job of keeping everyone calm,” he added.
The incident occurred when the extensive Thanksgiving-related period of travel had already begun next Thursday.
Last Friday, the Transportation Safety Authority (TSA) screened more than 2.2 million passengers at airports across the country. A TSA spokesperson said this was the highest number of searches in a day on record since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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