A passenger trying to leave Las Vegas Harry Reid International Airport (or whatever it’s now called) caused a major panic early Sunday morning — and the chaos escalated into what some people thought was an active shooter in the terminal.
According to Las Vegas Sun‘s Casey Harrison, The incident went down around 4:30 AM on Sunday when 33-year-old Stefan Hutchison of Oakland, California, reportedly “charged through a Spirit Airlines ticket counter” inside Terminal 1. (You knew Spirit was somehow going to be part of this story, didn’t you?!)
Then, ten loud banging sounds that some people confused for gunshots were caused by line-dividing stations falling and smacking into the floor. Those jarring sounds freaked out a bunch of people who thought a live shooter had just opened fire. That caused what one woman called “a stampede.” (It seems some minor injuries were reported.)
When police arrested finally arrested Mr. Hutchison — after he allegedly fought with the three Spirit employees — he reportedly told the officers he was in a hurry to get home. Like, aren’t we all, pal?
But wait! There’s more. This was the second time in less than 30 hours Mr. Hutchison was arrested at the Vegas airport!
Glenn Puit at Las Vegas Review-Journal says, “On Saturday morning, Hutchison was arrested after police said a man walked past two Transportation Security Administration agents at a screening checkpoint. The man ran into a Hudson News store and exited with a $170 pair of sunglasses he did not pay for, police said, before he was arrested. Hutchison was released on his own recognizance that day.”
I didn’t know Hudson stores sell expensive sunglasses. (Although, they might be $20 pairs that get the airport convenience store huge markup.)
But then there’s the matter of un-screened passengers reentering the concourses. Fox 5 Las Vegas’ Elaine Emerson and Maddie White reported:
Prior to being asked to re-screen, several travelers told FOX5 that they were able to walk through security un-checked because TSA agents had reportedly abandoned their posts during the panic.
“Half of the security line dropped to the ground,” airport traveler Christopher Neece told FOX5. “The other half started to step over those on the ground to get through security. You either ran with them or got knocked down. When I arrived at the front of security, there wasn’t a single TSA agent present.” …
“People were running, people that were already in line to get through TSA, they were scrambling and just ran through the metal detectors,” said Tawanna Malpress, who was attempting to go back home to Orlando after getting married in Las Vegas this weekend.
So now, the question becomes: how is it that passengers were able to pour through security unvetted?
FOX5 got in touch with a TSA spokesperson for the pacific region Monday, who said that the agents responded appropriately by running and hiding. She said they are instructed to “run, hide, fight” in the case of an active shooter, and added that they followed their training based on the limited info they had in a short period of time.
The reason they are trained to run in this situation is because they have an alternative security measure in the case of an emergency: the “terminal dump” and gate closure, actions they executed to ensure safety on flights by rescreening everyone.
She reiterated that TSA is not the same as law enforcement. She said this emergency would fall under the response of police, not TSA agents.
So how did your grand plan to get home in a hurry work, Mr. Hutchison? Good grief.
Here are a few other travel-related news stories that caught my eye:
Start Spreading the News: New York-New York in Las Vegas Room Remodeling Project
Vital Vegas has the scoop on the New York-New York Las Vegas’ upcoming room refreshes (estimated to cost MGM Resorts a mere $63 million). I know a lot of people who bag on NY-NY LV — but I actually kind of like the place.
I don’t love the rooms in their current state. Like, maybe they need a little furniture and carpet updating. But I’ll be honest: I’m not crazy about the new room design pictured below. What do you think? Tell us in the below in Comments section!
Blame New York and Florida for Your Flight Woes
New York LaGuardia — home to a beautiful new Delta terminal and SkyClub — is apparently the nation’s top offender when it comes to flight cancellations and delays this summer. And because around “a third of all flights from every major airline cross Florida airspace,” when something haywire down there, it can cause a ripple effect that hits a bunch of travelers.
Seaplanes and Supersonic Jets
American Airlines ordered 20 supersonic jets from Boom. (Europe in under four hours, anyone?) Meanwhile, Tailwind Air is adding seaplane service between Washington, D.C., and Manhattan.
Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.