Witnesses described a scene of mass chaos and panic after a gunman opened fire Friday morning at Terminal 3 in Los Angeles International Airport.
Fox Sports’ Bill Reiter tweeted updates as he watched people scrambling for cover.
“After the initial burst of gunfire and hiding, people started jumping over one another, jumping off chairs, pushing each other,” Reiter posted on Twitter.
Reiter, a columnist for Fox Sports, said he immediately thought of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado in which 13 people were killed by two gunmen.
Vernon Cardenas, who does casting for the Fox television show “MasterChef,” was in Terminal 3 when the shooting began, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“People were diving, hiding under chairs,” said Cardenas, 45. “All of a sudden you hear a couple pops, maybe three. But it was in the distance. It wasn’t close yet.”
Passengers started running through emergency exits and onto the tarmac. When the terminal was nearly empty, Cardenas saw a man walking calmly with a rifle.
Brian Adamick, 43, was at Gate 32 when he saw people running from the terminal, away from a security area, he told the Times. Shortly after he ran outside, he saw a wounded TSA agent board a bus that had arrived to help evacuate passengers. The man’s ankle was bloody.
“It looked like it was straight out of the movies,” Adamick said. The man told passengers not to worry about him and that he had been shot before.
“I got shot, I’m fine,” the man said, according to Adamick.
Reiter said airport officials were transferring departing passengers from other terminals.
“Getting crowded,” he wrote on Twitter.
Minutes later, Reiter posted: “Very few places to sit, people sitting on ground, small communities of people swapping stories and talking of loved ones forming.”
Actor James Franco was sitting on a plane at the airport when the shooting happened.
"At #lax. Some s**tbag shot up the place," he tweeted.
Another witness, Tory Belleci of television’s “Mythbusters,” tweeted: “Heard gun shots then everyone starting running for the door. Not sure if anyone was hurt."
Brian Keech told The Associated Press he heard “about a dozen gunshots” from inside a security gate at the terminal, which has been evacuated. The FBI said gunshots were reported at Terminal 3 at around 9:30 a.m.
Meanwhile, Ben Rosen was sitting at the Starbucks in Terminal 3 eating oatmeal around 9:20 a.m. when he heard gunfire erupt and people start running in all directions and others crouching on the ground, The Associated Press reported. Rosen got on the ground and heard another passenger say, "don't worry, we're safe."
After more gunshots erupted, police showed up with their guns drawn, shouting, "This is not a drill, hands up."
John Forstrom, a passenger, was in the terminal after flying in from San Francisco.
"#lax colleague walks closer to see what is going on and TSA person runs at him with look of terror. Colleague turns to me and says run!" he tweeted.
Forstrom added that one passenger who had fled the terminal was in bare feet after she had run out of her shoes.
Fox News' Karl de Vries contributed to this report.