Tulsa International Airport On 'High Alert' After LAX Shooting


Friday, November 1st 2013, 10:27 pm
By: News On 6


Police say 23-year-old Paul Ciancia shot several TSA employees at the Los Angeles International Airport Friday, killing one of them.

Sources tell CBS News Ciancia wrote a rant about killing TSA employees and he sent a text message to family in New Jersey, threatening to kill himself.

But Ciancia is not dead. He's in custody after being shot by police.

Terminal Three was evacuated, but frightened passengers who couldn't get out crammed into restroom stalls for safety.

Police recovered a gun.

Three others were wounded in the gunfire.

Friday's shooting at LAX had security at Tulsa International Airport on "high alert" Friday. While TIA doesn't have any direct flights to and from Los Angeles, the shooting still hit home with flyers there.

There weren't any flight delays because of the shooting, but some flyers said it took slightly longer to get through security. Some travelers said they even thought twice about flying after hearing the news.

Things were running smoothly at Tulsa International, but the term "high alert" continued to play over the intercom.

11/1/2013 Related Story: Suspected Gunman In Custody At Los Angeles Airport

Kurt Etter works at American Airlines in Tulsa and said he contacted his wife as soon as he heard the news.

Even though they're going to Denver, they questioned flying with their daughter.

"It makes you look at every person differently," Etter said.

Officials say the gunman ran into the airport, up to the security checkpoint, pulled a rifle out of a bag and opened fire.

While most TSA workers aren't armed, Tulsa airport representatives say there is a police presence before you get to the security checkpoint.

According to a blog by the TSA, workers discover roughly four firearms a day. While most people say they forgot them in their bags, it is a number that's on the rise. In 2011, that number was just over 1,200. The following year it was more than 1,500, and this year they are on pace to discover more than 1,700 firearms.

"I think a lot of people just forget, they're used to having it with them," said Nadine Coulthurst.

Coulthurst said, even though Tulsa's airport isn't the size of LAX, the third busiest in the U.S., she still expects changes.

"I mean, you think this is enough security, but it seems now like you might have to have security coming into the airport," Coulthurst said. "There are risks anywhere--stores, anywhere."

It is important to put the number of firearms found by TSA workers into perspective. TSA says it screens, on average, almost 2 million people a day across the country.

We contacted the TSA to get the number of firearms confiscated in Tulsa, but that information won't be available for a few days.