JFK airport evacuated: Panic and confusion over reports of a shooter and gunshots fired

published: Sep, 20, 2023

by: guestposts

John F Kennedy (JFK) International Airport is on alert with a reported active shooter on the scene.

A MASS evacuation was ordered at JFK airport in New York after reports of gunfire. But a police source said a crowd watching the Rio Olympics on TV may have been to blame.

A law enforcement official told NBC News that cheering, clapping and banging from people watching the Olympic Games may have been misinterpreted as a fight and gunshots.

The New York Post also reports a woman told an officer about the alleged gunman a little after 9.30pm, which lead to a manhunt for the armed man.

But police have found no evidence of a shooter so far.

Earlier today, there were reports of an active shooter at Terminal 8, and that shots were fired at Terminal 1.

But those reports appear to be unfounded. Port Authority police say they have not found any firearms, rounds of ammunition, shell casings or other evidence of gunfire. Police evacuated Terminal 8 as a precaution after receiving reports of shots fired near the departures area around 9.30pm local time.

A short time later, police closed Terminal 1 after they say they received additional reports of shots fired in that terminal. An expressway approaching the airport also was shut down.

The New York Police Department was called in to assist. NYPD Emergency Services Unit officer with automatic weapons scoured the area and passengers were taking cover outside cement traffic barriers.

No one was injured.

“The terminal was evacuated out of an abundance of caution,” the Port Authority said.

“Travellers should contact their carriers.”

— Port Authority NY&NJ (@PANYNJ) August 15, 2016

Pictures emerged on social media of people being evacuated from the airport, as they expressed their confusion over the incident.


Witness Bryan Liston filmed himself in Terminal 8 during the evacuation using Facebook Live, saying they were being escorted out of the airport by armed police.

In his video he said: “There is armed police everywhere right now” and “we’re not even allowed to pick up our luggage”.

“They’re pushing everybody out of the entire building,” he said.

He also tweeted that more evacuations were occurring where a Lufthansa flight had arrived.

More evacuations and running out of terminal that Lufthansa is in, cop cars speeding over there, people running every direction

— Bryan Liston (@listonb) August 15, 2016

ESU team is here, Terminal 8. Thousands of travelers outside pic.twitter.com/boifGOEvG8 — Bryan Liston (@listonb) August 15, 2016

Witness Dan Archer tweeted that police have not said anything except “it’s not safe to stay here”, as they were removed from Terminal 8.

— Dan Archer (@archcomix) August 15, 2016

He also tweeted that they were able to collect their belongings and the situation had been cleared. The airlines operating out of the Terminal 8 departure area include Alaska Airlines, Air Berlin, American Airlines, American Eagle, Finnair, LARAM, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian and LATAM.

Panic at jfk theyre closing the gates at security-possible shooter  — Dan Archer (@archcomix) August 15, 2016

Everyone is being kicked out of the terminal. Police on alert! #JFK

— Robbie Rob (@locodoggy) August 15, 2016

Passengers on other planes bound for JFK were being diverted away from the airport as the incident is being investigated.

About to land at JFK, but pilot suddenly announces flight diverted to Buffalo! JFK apparently “shut-down”. No idea why — Umang Dua (@umangdua) August 15, 2016

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