Flights briefly halted after accidental gun discharge at Atlanta airport, three injuries reported

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Flight attendants wearing protective masks walk through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
Elijah Nouvelage | Bloomberg | Getty Images

An accidental gun discharge at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s security screening area on Saturday afternoon led to all departing flights being briefly halted.

The airport said on Twitter there was not an active shooter or any ongoing danger to passengers or employees. A spokesman with the Atlanta Police Department told NBC News no injuries were reported.

“Officials have given an all-clear for #ATLAirport and normal operations are beginning,” airport officials tweeted. Details about the incident have not been made available.

Atlanta airport spokesman Andrew Gobeil told CNN that a passenger was discovered to be carrying a gun at the security checkpoint.

Officials noticed the gun and when either an officer or the unnamed passenger went to get the weapon, it accidentally discharged. The passenger then left the airport.

Gobeil said officials know who the passenger is.

“They are going to go out and they are going to question him and detain him shortly,” he told the news outlet.

Various news outlets reported that witnesses said panic ensued in the airport’s domestic terminal. NBC affiliate WXIA of Atlanta reported passengers got off planes to wait on the tarmac and around the terminals.

The incident occurred just as what’s expected to be a busy holiday travel season gets underway. The Transportation Security Administration said it expects to screen about 20 million people between Nov. 19 and Nov. 28, almost back to 2019 levels. 

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