At approximately 1:30 p.m. today, a property search TSO at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s (ATL) Main Checkpoint began a bag search due to a prohibited item identified by the X-Ray. He advised the passenger not to touch the property, and as he opened the compartment containing the prohibited item, the passenger lunged into the bag and grabbed a firearm, at which point it discharged. The passenger then fled the area, running out of the airport exit.
This was not an active shooter event. Local airport and TSA leadership made the decision to initiate a ground stop while Atlanta Police Department investigated the incident further.
Atlanta Police Department gave an all-clear at 3:20 PM and TSA began rescreening passengers at that time.
Early reports indicate three people sustained non-life-threatening injuries. UPDATE: There may be more injuries that follow early reports. At this time, we do not have complete information.
TSA officers have detected more than 450 firearms at ATL checkpoints in 2021. This incident underscores the importance of checking personal belongings for dangerous items before leaving for the airport. Firearms, particularly loaded firearms, introduce an unnecessary risk at checkpoints, have no place in the passenger cabin of an airplane, and represent a very costly mistake for the passengers who attempt to board a flight with them.
When passengers bring firearms to airport checkpoints, TSA will assess a civil penalty that varies by number of previous offenses and whether the firearm was loaded at the time. The complete list of penalties is posted on TSA.gov. TSA PreCheck® members caught with a firearm at a TSA checkpoint may lose their expedited screening privileges for three years or more.
Passengers may travel with firearms in checked baggage when they are unloaded and packed in a locked, hard-sided case. The passenger must declare and present the case with the firearm at the airline check-in counter and inform the airline representative of their intention to travel with the firearms. Firearms are transported with checked baggage and are placed in the cargo hold of the aircraft. Visit the TSA website for details on how to properly travel with a firearm.
UPDATE from Atlanta Police Department regarding the suspect: 11/20/21 - Shots fired at 7062 SPINE RD (HJIA) | News | Atlanta Police Department (atlantapd.org)