ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on an armed man at the Orlando International Airport (all times local):
Authorities believe a gunman reported at the Orlando International Airport was attempting to commit “suicide by cop.”
Orlando Police Chief John Mina said during a news conference Tuesday night that 26-year-old Michael Wayne Pettigrew’s gun had actually been a replica firearm. Officers who responded to the airport’s car rental area earlier that evening said Pettigrew was trying to get officers to shoot him.
Once the area was evacuated and Pettigrew was surrounded, Mina said a crisis negotiator was able to get Pettigrew to surrender without shots being fired. Mina says Pettigrew, a former Marine, was being held for a mental evaluation but also faces aggravated assault charges.
Some flights were delayed during the nearly three-hour standoff. Airport operations were returning to normal late Tuesday night.
Police say a gunman at the Orlando International Airport has been taken into custody and that everyone is safe.
Orlando police tweeted that authorities would update the media soon Tuesday night. The call about an armed man came in about 7:30 p.m. and the situation was resolved nearly three hours later, after a crisis negotiator was called in to help.
The terrifying situation created confusion and uncertainty at the airport as travelers posted video and photos online of officers with their weapons drawn.
Authorities said earlier that no shots had been fired.
Police in Florida have tweeted that a reportedly armed suspect has been ‘contained’ at the Orlando International Airport and that no shots have been fired and there is no active shooter.
Orlando police urged people not to put out unconfirmed information on Tuesday night during what appeared to be a chaotic scene at the airport. Images showed a heavy police presence and officials hurrying travelers out of an area in the airport.
The Florida Highway Patrol said all roads to the airport were shut down, with “zero exceptions.” Authorities warned people to stay in their vehicles and away from law enforcement.
A spokeswoman for the Orlando International Airport says authorities are responding to a report of an armed man in the rental car area.
Spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell tells the Orlando Sentinel that law enforcement officers are on the scene Tuesday night.
The airport tweeted that the area had been contained and there was minimal impact to operations. Images posted on social media showed a heavy police presence in the area and passengers were worried about missing flights. The Florida Highway Patrol tweeted that all roads to the airport were shut down, with “zero exceptions.” Authorities warned people to stay in their vehicles and away from law enforcement.
Fennell didn’t immediately respond to a message left by The Associated Press. Police referred calls to the spokeswoman.
Earlier this year, authorities say an Alaska man killed five people inside a baggage claim area at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
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