Pinoys stranded after LA airport shooting lockdown
CALIFORNIA - It was a traveler's nightmare at the Los Angeles International Airport as a gunman brought what was believed to be a high-power assault rifle and then shot his way into terminal 3 on Friday morning.
The suspect was identified as 23-year old Paul Anthony Ciancia, a Los Angeles resident originally from New Jersey.
One employee of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was shot dead, while 7 others were injured including the gunman. The incident prompted a lockdown of one of the nation's busiest airports.
Initial reports said Ciancia had an agenda against TSA officials and was intending on taking his life.
He remains in the hospital.
Filipinos were among those stranded inside the airport during the lockdown.
Two Filipinos arrived from a pilot training in Florida at 10 a.m. and were scheduled to go home to Manila at 10 p.m. They planned a quick side trip thru Los Angeles. However, they never left their terminal.
"Last 6 hours hindi namin nakuha ang baggage kasi na-lockdown ngayon yung airport walang makalabas," said Mike Santos.
The closure trickled throughout the surrounding areas as vehicle traffic was gridlocked.
People picking up arriving passengers waited hours at a nearby shopping center.
Despite tight air restrictions, passengers trying to board flights parked their cars and trekked 2 miles carrying luggage with them, unknowing if their flights would resume as planned.
"My plan is to basically walk into the airport, and its 11:49 now, and hopefully I can catch my flight by 1 o'clock," said passenger Jet Aguilar.
"Ay nako, gusto namin mag cancel na. Kasi sobra ng lakad namin. Ayaw na namin tumuloy kaya," said another passenger Aida Carlos.
By early evening, thousands of passengers, many frustrated from the long day, lined up for shuttles as flights and street traffic were slowly restored.
Airport officials said a total of 746 flights were affected.
As of early Friday evening, the identities of those treated for injuries, as well as the fatality, were not released.