ATLANTA - A TSA screener wrestled with a passenger over a bag that had a prohibited item inside.
The passenger was able to grab the bag free, but in the process, a firearm was discharged.
It happened a week ago on Saturday. The traveler identified as Kenny Wells ran and got out of the building off the property.
For several minutes there was "controlled chaos", according to airport workers who witnessed the reaction of other travelers. Many left their luggage on the floor. Outside, as word spread about what was thought to be an active shooter, people abandoned their cars at the curb and took off.
Atlanta police are searching for 42-year-old Kenny Wells who they say fled the airport after a weapon was discharged at a checkpoint on November 20, 2021. (Atlanta Police Department)
Law enforcement sources familiar with the incident say there was just one Atlanta officer inside the screening area. But that officer was on the other side from where passengers queue up to be screened. His line of sight likely was blocked from the checkpoint station used by the violator, according to law enforcement familiar with the layout.
Sources tell FOX 5 the screeners, who are civilians, cannot forcibly detain Individuals.
What is needed, they say, is a minimum of an additional fixed officer at all checkpoints.
They also note police staffing, as it is around the city, is running short at the airport.
On that Saturday afternoon, there were fourteen officers and two supervisors covering the entire complex -- domestic, international as well as the concourses.