Accidental firearm discharge at Atlanta airport security checkpoint grounds flights

An accidental firearm discharge occurred Saturday at an Atlanta airport, which federal officials said led to a temporary halt in flights.

The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport reported on Twitter that at roughly 1:30 p.m. local time, a weapon was accidentally discharged at their security screening area.

“There is NOT an active shooter at the airport. APD is on the scene. More information about the situation will be made available on our social media channels,” the airport tweeted.

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At around 3:30pm, the airport said normal operations were beginning to resume after officials gave the all-clear. The Atlanta Police Department said in a statement that no injuries had been reported.

A spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed to The Hill in a statement that there had been “a brief ground stop at ATL from 1:38 to 2:13 p.m. local time today,” adding that it had since been lifted.

Atlanta police said they were investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.

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At a news conference later on Saturday, the police said they had identified Kenny Wells, a convicted felon, as a suspect in the incident. Atlanta Police Major Reginald Moorman said that they had a warrant out for his arrest for carrying a concealed weapon at a commercial airport, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, discharging a firearm and reckless conduct.

The accidental shooting comes as holiday travel and flights begin to ramp up. Lisa Farbstein, a spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), reported on Saturday that officials had screened their highest number of passengers yet since early 2020.

“@TSA officers screened 2,242,956 people at airport security checkpoints nationwide yesterday, Friday, Nov. 19. It's the highest checkpoint volume since passenger volume tanked in early 2020 as a result of the pandemic. The Thanksgiving travel period has begun! #MaskUp,” Farbstein tweeted.

The number of passengers screened at security checkpoints across the country is only expected to increase as the holiday season progresses.

The Hill has reached out to the airport for further information.

— Updated at 8:11 p.m.