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Terminal at Bush airport is closed during shooting investigation

May 02, 2013|By Michael Muskal
  • Airport security diverts traffic near Terminal B at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport after shots were fired near a ticket counter. One person, believed to be the gunman, was injured and taken to a hospital, officials said.
Airport security diverts traffic near Terminal B at Houston's Bush… (Karen Warren / Associated…)

Most of Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport was open to travelers Thursday except for one terminal that remained closed as officials investigated a shooting that left a gunman seriously wounded.

Police and other officers were still at the scene trying to sort through the events that began about 1:30 p.m., John Cannon, a spokesman for the Houston Police Department, said by telephone. A lone gunman was taken to a hospital with “life-threatening injuries,” he said.

Dale Howard, who told reporters that he was at the airport to pick up his sister for a family funeral, said he was on the lower level of the terminal when the incident began.

“Right off the bat there were two shots, about an 8- to 10-second delay, two more shots, a short delay, then a fifth shot,” he said, according to KHOU..

“There was a bunch of screaming, a bunch of people running, people coming down the escalator the wrong way getting away from it, leaving their bags on the thing,” Howard said. “There was a banner up there and I really couldn’t see who was involved, but police came out of the headquarters up there and I directed them upstairs.”

Police said they believe the incident took place at a ticket counter before passengers go through security checks.

There were conflicting reports about what the gunman did. Most witnesses agreed that there was burst of shooting, followed by quiet and then another series of shots.

Greg Newburn, who was in the terminal waiting for a flight to Oklahoma City, said he was sitting in a cafe area when he heard two gunshots and, after a pause, several more.

“It seemed like quite a few shots. Everyone was scrambling, running left and running right, turning tables up and hiding behind tables. Nobody knew what was happening. I couldn't tell where the shots were coming from,” he told the Associated Press.

Cannon said police were also investigating unconfirmed reports that an air marshal had returned fire at the gunman but missed. The reports also said the gunman then turned a weapon on himself.

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