Machete-wielding man sends airport into chaos
KENNER - A 63-year-old man, wielding a machete was shot and was last listed as "unresponsive" at a New Orleans-area hospital after a violent altercation at the international airport here.
Authorities said Richard White entered the airport Friday night and sprayed a TSA agent near Concourse B. White was able to enter the concourse, get past the first agent and spray a second agent before pulling out the machete and striking a third agent.
The agent used a piece of luggage to defend himself and called for assistance. Eventually, a non-TSA officer shot White three times.
"A guy comes running with a machete over his head running through security, and then he hops a bench and comes up toward my wife and I, and I start swinging my suitcase at him, and he runs the other way, right into a TSA agent," a witness told WWL TV in New Orleans. WWL and WBRZ have a news partnership.
"We heard some screams. I turned around, I saw a man jumping over the security agents, and then we heard two shots fired. Everyone in the area, as you can image, started screaming. We all got down on the floor," another witness told the television station.
"We don't think there is any national security threat or anything along those lines," Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said. "At this point, we don't have any information that leads us to believe that that's the case as it relates to the situation," he said.
Almost immediately, people started posting videos and pictures on social media sites. On Twitter, a user posted a video that showed TSA workers being cared for by EMT crews. Another user, a reporter for a newspaper on the East Coast who coincidentally was at the airport, posted she saw the altercation.
"Just witnessed craziest thing: dead body at #NewOrleans airport. Man stabbed 2 pple at security line shot by police," she posted on Twitter with a picture of a man lying face-down, surrounded by police and emergency responders.
Sheriff Norman said White did not have a serious criminal history and recently became a taxi driver.
No passengers were seriously hurt. Concourse B was closed and airport officials said operations were being moved to Concourses C and D. The airport slowly returned to normal and authorities expect it to be fully operational by Saturday.
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