LAX Shooting Opens War Wounds for One Veteran - KMSP-TV

LAX Shooting Opens War Wounds for One Veteran

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An emotional Vietnam Vet witnessed the shooting at LAX and had to dive for cover.  James Smith was very emotional as he described the scene that made him feel like he was back on the battlefield.

By: Alexandra Limon

James Smith, a marine who served in Vietnam, was checking into his flight at terminal 3 at LAX when gunfire erupted. 

"We heard the shooting it was like pop, pop all over again," said Smith. "We jumped over the counter."

The Vietnam Vet says the scene made him feel like he was back on the battlefield. "It was like a flashback, it was horrible. You know, I go to therapy all the time and it was a nightmare to me."

After the chaos passed all passengers were evacuated from terminals 1, 2 and 3 and taken to other terminals.

Security remained tight through the day Friday, as the investigation continued into the shooting that left one person dead and several injured.

Outbound and incoming flights stopped at terminals 1-3.  A limited number of flights were able to take off at other terminals, leaving many passengers stranded.

"You can't go anywhere you can't leave. You can't have people come get you so we're just stuck here," said a passenger who was headed to Hawaii.

"They do have our luggage. Our luggage that we left this morning," said Linda Gagne, who was supposed to fly to Montreal.

Brianna Arguello was stuck on a southwest flight and then in holding area, "kind of boring until they brought in water and snacks,"

Around 3 p.m. employees began going back into terminals 1 and 2, about an hour later those two terminals were reopened to passengers and the airport tried to return to a normal operating schedule.

But for James Smith, getting back to normal will be a tough road.  "I could see it when i was in comeback and just to see this right at home it was a wake-up call," said Smith.

Because the airport's been shut down for so many hours now and so many flights have been canceled and delayed there will be a big domino effect, through at least Sunday.  Passengers should contact their airlines directly for flight information.

Those in need a hotel should call 888-831-7176.

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