Latest: Molotov cocktails found in New Orleans airport aggressor's bag; smoke bombs, 3 tanks found in car outside terminal, Jefferson Parish Sheriff says
A man was shot and seriously wounded by a law enforcement officer inside Louis Armstrong International Airport on Friday night after a confrontation with Transportation Security Administration agents at the entrance to heavily used Concourse B, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said.
The incident occurred about 8 p.m.
Normand identified the man who was shot as Richard White, 62, of Kenner. He said White has been a taxi driver and recently received a chauffeur’s license.
He said White was in surgery as of 10:30 p.m.
Normand said White, for unknown reasons, challenged the TSA agents at Concourse B, which is used by Southwest Airlines. He said White tried to go through the preclearance lane, causing one of the agents to ask him to halt.
Normand said White then sprayed two agents with a can of wasp spray and struck a female agent with a machete, causing a laceration to her arm.
One of the TSA agents and White ran down into the concourse, with White still swinging the machete. JPSO Lt. Heather Slyve ired three shots, striking White in his chest, face and thigh, Normand said.
He said a bystander suffered a graze wound from one of the shots, and a few other bystanders received cuts or abrasions in the melee.
Normand said White did not appear to be carrying any luggage and may not have been an airplane passenger. Normand said White had no serious criminal history. Deputies and bomb-sniffing dogs were going over his vehicle, which was found on the airport terminal’s upper ramp.
There was no immediate indication why he was carrying the wasp spray and machete or what might have motivated his actions.
The airport and the access road to it were briefly shut down, but then the Southwest flights scheduled to use Concourse B for the rest of Friday night were transferred to other concourses, Aviation Director Iftikhar Ahmad said. Aside from Concourse B, he said, the airport was operating normally by about 9 p.m.
A heavy police presence remained late into the night, with patrol cars and SUVs lining the length of the ramp to the departure terminal and many officers and K-9 units patrolling the area.
Passengers and those coming to pick them up milled about the exits, where officers and deputies clustered while announcements warned those flying that they would need to show identification in the terminal.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said he expects Concourse B to fully reopen Saturday. The city of New Orleans owns the airport, even though it is located in Kenner in Jefferson Parish.