JFK Airport terminals back to normal after reports of shots fired

Terminal 8 at JFK is evacuated for what turns out to be an unconfirmed report of gunfire in the airport.
Courtesy of NYPD Special Ops/Twitter
By Bill Parry

JFK International Airport was back to normal Monday after two terminals were evacuated after reports of shots fired Sunday night, according to the Port Authority Police Department. There were flight disruptions and delays caused by the incident but regular service returned by 12:45 a.m., a PAPD spokesman said.

The initial reports of shots fired came in at 9:34 p.m. and the departure area at Terminal 8 was cleared to “be cautious” and there was a robust response from the NYPD with more than 100 officers helping the PAPD search the two terminals. There were no firearms or ammunition found and there were no injuries or arrests and the investigation continues into what caused the event, according to PAPD spokesman Joseph Pentangelo.

At 10:15 p.m. the PAPD closed the departure area at Terminal 1 after additional calls of shots fired that also caused the closure of the Van Wyck Expressway in the airport’s vicinity.

“They’re trying to determine the catalyst of what caused this to happen,” Pentangelo said. “Was it Usain Bolt or the sound of luggage falling? It doesn’t appear to be a hoax. It was more like people starting to run when they saw others starting to run.”

Jamaican track star Usain Bolt won the 100-meter dash just after 9:30 p.m. for a record third time. NBC News reported that “cheering, clapping and banging from people watching the Olympic Games may have been misinterpreted as a fight and gunshots.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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