(CNN)Days after a gunshot set off a panic inside the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, police are still looking for the man they say brought the weapon through a security checkpoint and then managed to slip away in the ensuing chaos, firearm in hand.
Kenny Wells, 42, is wanted on warrants accusing him of carrying a concealed weapon at a commercial airport, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, discharging a firearm and reckless conduct, according to Atlanta Police Department Airport Precinct Commander Reginald L. Moorman.
“We are actively pursuing this individual,” Moorman added.
Here’s what we know about the incident that briefly grounded flights at one of the world’s busiest airports:
Discharged weapon sent holiday travelers scrambling for cover
The incident unfolded around 1: 30 p.m. Saturday, as holiday travelers were winding their way through lines at the airport’s main security checkpoint, according to Robert Spinden, the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) federal security director for Georgia.
A passenger’s property was flagged for a “secondary search” after an X-ray screening detected a “prohibited item,” Spinden said during a news conference Saturday.
“During that secondary search, the passenger lunged into his property, grabbing a firearm that was located inside, which ultimately discharged,” Spinden said. “The passenger fled the security checkpoint via an adjacent exit lane, carrying his firearm. “
The incident left three people with non-life-threatening injuries, TSA officials said. CNN was informed by a source that the injured were not shot but were injured while the airport was being evacuated. According to a source, the firearm was taken into the possession of the person who brought it.
All the injured were adults, two of whom were taken to the hospital, according to the source.
“We’re fortunate that when the firearm went off, nobody was seriously injured,” Spinden said.
Witnesses describe panic
Airport spokesperson Andrew Gobeil characterized the discharge as accidental, adding the loud noise created a “sense of chaos.”
That chaos was captured in videos recorded by witnesses who describe terrified passengers running for safety, fearing a possible active shooter situation.
In one video posted by Stephon Stafford, line dividers are knocked down as people are lying on the ground in an apparent attempt to seek cover as someone is heard shouting, “Get down.” Stafford claimed that he was about go through security with his child.
Another video shared on Twitter by Hasmet Asilkan from outside the airport shows many people running in a frenzy as someone is heard urging people to run.
Erika Zeidler, who was traveling from Atlanta to Anchorage, Alaska, said she was sitting in a restaurant in Concourse T when people began running down the hallway.
“We thought they were late for a flight, and then more and more people started running,” she told CNN’s Jim Acosta. “There was a lot of screaming, and then someone stopped and said, “There’s a shooter. You need to go.” ‘”
Dianne Callahan was traveling with her son and had boarded her flight to New York. When the crew shut the doors, she said she heard loud screams. Callahan also said that she heard sirens outside the plane and wasn’t sure what was happening.
“It was an extremely tense situation,” she said. “People were trying to get on the plane, even though they weren’t on our flight. They were so scared. “
Callahan and her son were then sent to go back through security, she said.
Gun involved was later found in trashcan
The gun that discharged was found three days later inside a trashcan on the airport’s property, Atlanta Police said.
It is illegal for people to take firearms through security checkpoints at airports in the US, according to Page Pate, a Georgia criminal defense attorney and constitutional lawyer.
According to TSA Administrator David Pekoske, the number of passengers bringing guns to airports has become a “huge problem. “
TSA reports catching 4,650 firearms at checkpoints in the first 10 months of the year — and the vast majority were loaded. That number surpasses the full-year record of 4,432, set in 2019.
At the Atlanta airport, 450 firearms have been detected at checkpoints so far this year, the TSA said Saturday.
“We’ve had many more incidences where there are passenger disturbances both in checkpoints and onboard aircraft. Pekoske stated in an interview that guns are not involved.
CNN’s Gregory Wallace and Pete Muntean contributed to this report.
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