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Shots ring out at airport as police battle machete maniac

March 24, 2015 Airport, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Passengers at a busy airport in New Orleans ducked for cover on Friday as police gunned down a crazed 63-year-old taxi driver armed with a machete, a can of wasp spray and a bag of Molotov cocktails.

The man attacked Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Louis Armstrong International Airport outside New Orleans before being shot shot by a deputy sheriff. After the man died in hospital later, authorities revealed he had an arsenal of weapons in a bag during the attack as well chemicals in his car.

Richard White

Richard White

A report in the New York Times named the man as Richard White. The paper quoted a sheriff saying White had pulled a can of wasp spray out of a paper bag and sprayed two TSA officers in the face with it.

White is then said to have drawn a machete from his pants and started swinging it wildly at officers, one of whom retreated back through the metal detector, trying to defend himself with a piece of luggage.

At that point, a deputy sheriff stationed by the security gate drew her pistol and fired three times at White. All three shots hit White, the sheriff told the paper, but one also hit another TSA officer. Four people were taken to hospital but only one, the attacker, was seriously hurt, the paper said. The attacker later died.

Witnesses described travellers in the airport cowering and crying because they had no idea of what was going on. One woman fainted.

“Somebody said, ‘Get down get down get down,’ then ‘bam bam bam,’” a traveller said.

Flights were moved to other concourses but the airport remained open throughout.

White’s motives are unknown but investigators discovered after the shooting that he had been carrying a bag loaded with Molotov cocktails, incendiary devices with cloth wicks soaked in petrol, the Deseret News reported.

Residue from smoke bombs was also found near White’s body. White had dropped his bag of Molotov cocktails during the attack.

White was described as a Jehovah’s Witness with a history of mental health problems and refusing medication.

Authorities found smoke bombs and tanks of acetylene, Freon gas and oxygen in the boot of his car.

Written by : Peter Needham

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