The accidental discharge of a passenger’s weapon in a security area of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport caused widespread panic Saturday afternoon, prompting a brief halt of departing flights over the busy travel weekend.
The incident occurred around 1:30 p.m. ET when a “prohibited item” was detected in a passenger’s property while going through the X‑ray screening at the security checkpoint, Robert Spinden, the Transportation Security Administration’s federal security director for Georgia, said in a news conference. The property was flagged for a “secondary search,” he said.
“During that secondary search, the passenger lunged into his property, grabbing a firearm that was located inside, which ultimately discharged,” Spinden said. “The passenger then fled the security checkpoint through an adjacent exit lane with his firearm.”