Officials identify convicted felon as suspect in accidental firearm discharge at Atlanta airport

Officials on Saturday evening identified a convicted felon as the suspect behind an accidental firearm discharge that occurred earlier that day at an Atlanta airport.

The suspect was identified as Kenny Wells, 42. 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.

Earlier on Saturday, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport reported that at roughly 1:30 p.m. local time a weapon had been accidentally fired inside the airport. A spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that flights at the airport were temporarily grounded. 

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Robert Spinden, the federal security director at the Transportation Security Administration, said during the news conference that officials first became aware of the gun when it was detected during the screening process.

“During the screening process, a prohibited item was detected inside of his property, which was subsequently flagged for a secondary search. During that secondary search, the passenger lunged into his property, grabbing a firearm that was located inside, which ultimately discharged,” Spinden said. 

“The passenger then fled the security checkpoint through an adjacent exit lane with his firearm. We're fortunate that when the firearm went off, nobody was seriously injured,” he added. 

Officials said that they did not know where the man was traveling to at the time. Moorman said that they were actively pursuing Wells.

Police also reported in a statement that they were aware of three injuries around the time of the accidental discharge, though it remained unclear if the injuries were related to the evacuations following the incident. 

“There were three requests for medical assistance reported as Atlanta Police were responding to the call of shots fired. Of those three injures, one person requested EMS from a fall that occurred in the atrium of the airport, with is not in the same area of the security check point, and two others complained of a shortness of breath. There were no further reports of injury,” Atlanta police said in a statement.