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Bruins in Paris

UCLA travelers delayed after LAX shooting

By Naheed Rajwani

Nov. 2, 2013 2:37 p.m.

This post was updated at 2:50 a.m. on Monday.

Their luggage in tow, thousands of people filed out of Los Angeles International Airport Friday afternoon.

Exits to the airport became temporary crosswalks for the airport visitors who had been stuck inside for hours after a gunman opened fire inside Terminal 3, killing one Transportation Security Administration officer and wounding at least six others.

Jeff Muhr flew from Sacramento to visit his daughter for UCLA Parents’ Weekend. He said he noticed four or five helicopters circling the airspace as his flight landed at LAX at 10:20 a.m. He had a feeling something was wrong, but couldn’t tell exactly what was going on.

He had a feeling something was wrong, but couldn’t tell exactly what was going on.

About 9:30 a.m. Friday morning, airport police received reports of a gunman at Terminal 3, officials said.

Police arrived at the scene within moments and pursued the suspect, later identified as 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia, through the security checkpoint and into the back of the terminal, closer to the gates, officials said at a press conference Friday afternoon.

Airport authorities issued a temporary ground stop for LAX, meaning no airplanes could depart from the airport for several hours.

One TSA officer died and several other people were injured.

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center received three patients from the shooting on Saturday, officials said. One of the patients was in critical condition and the other two were in stable condition, as of Friday afternoon.

Hospital officials could not be reached Saturday for updates on the patients’ conditions.

Muhr, an El Dorado Hills, Calif., resident, didn’t find out about the shooting until after his plane landed at LAX, he said. The pilot came on the PA system and informed the passengers about what had happened.

“The most interesting thing was, sitting on the tarmac, we kept waiting and waiting and waiting. And you wonder, ‘Is there something else going on here that we don’t know?’” he said

He added that he felt the airport staff was very professional along the way and did a good job of keeping people informed as new information became available.

“I’m claustrophobic, so I hated being on the airplane, but you just suck it up,” he said.

During the nearly four-hour wait on the plane, the passengers and cabin crew on Muhr’s flight developed a sense of camaraderie.

“It’s like in a movie – there always has to be a hilarious stewardess and a baby crying,” he said.

Back in Westwood, several people were waiting at the FlyAway shuttle stop. Roads to the airport were blocked off to traffic and flights from the airport were grounded, so the FlyAway wasn’t operating for several hours.

First-year electrical engineering student Dominic Mortel was trying to get home to Oakland, Calif., to spend time with his family for his 18th birthday. He said he hopes to at least get some kind of reimbursement for his flight, which was delayed.

Nathan Chan, a first-year Design | Media Arts student, was supposed to fly to Houston Friday evening for his cousin’s wedding. Chan said he was worried he wouldn’t be able to make it to his 5 p.m. flight.

“I’m the wedding photographer, so I can’t miss it,” he said.

Airport officials had reopened all terminals by Saturday evening, though investigation into the shooting was ongoing.

Contributing reports from Chandini Soni, Yael Levin, Kristen Taketa and Katherine Hafner, Bruin senior staff, and Nico Correia, Bruin contributor.

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