Police were negotiating with an armed gunman at the Orlando airport in Florida on May 30, and a citizen cell phone video captured parts of the negotiation.
“Incident ongoing involving man w/ weapon in terminal – Level 1 A-side, rental car area. Police on scene, area contained. Min impact to ops,” the Orlando International Airport tweeted around 8:20 p.m. EST. As of 8:30 p.m. EST, tweeted the Florida Highway Patrol, “ALL ROADS LEADING TO ORLANDO AIRPORT ARE SHUTDOWN….. ZERO EXCEPTIONS.”
People posted photos on social media showing a strong police response to the scene. WFTV reported that the gunman was not in custody, but the situation was “contained.” In other words, there was not an active shooter, but the situation inside the airport remained tense and unfolding as law enforcement officers spoke to the purported gunman.
“UPDATE: Armed suspect is contained but not in custody. Suspect is speaking with a crisis negotiator. Please report only confirmed info,” Orlando Police reported on Twitter around 9:30 p.m. EST.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Video Emerged Showing What Sounded Like a Negotiation From the Scene
One woman posted the above video to Twitter and wrote, “This video is from the Orlando Airport, from my sister who is working there tn. u can hear the police say ‘ur going to hospital not prison.'”
Indeed, the video captures the sounds of a man saying, “You’re going to go to the hospital. You’re going to the hospital. That’s where you’re going” as another man shouts back.
There was a massive law enforcement response. “Be aware of traffic surrounding current events if traveling to MCO. Entrances open but congested. Contact airline for latest flight status,” the Orlando International Airport tweeted.
One man reported that roughly 40 law enforcement officers with large weapons swarmed the scene. Another person posted a video of the law enforcement response.
This video contains an expletive, but it captures the scope of the police response to the scene.
The suspect had threatened to harm himself and others, reported The Daily Star.
2. Authorities Said There Was Not an Arrest Yet
As of 9 p.m. EST, though, the Florida Highway Patrol said that no arrest had been made. Orlando police confirmed this on Twitter, writing, “There has been no arrest. We will post updates.”
Jim Payne, a reporter with WESH-TV, tweeted that a man had threatened police with a handgun, but no shots were fired.
3. Police Cautioned That Some Social Media Reports on the Incident Were Wrong
Many reports coming out of Orlando were wrong, authorities cautioned. Early on, some reports on Twitter said there was an active shooter at the airport, but that does not appear to be the case.
However, there was clearly an incident at Orlando airport. “#Orlando avoid @MCO. This is still an active scene with police activity. There has been no opening of this scene,” FHP tweeted.
The situation caused a standstill at the busy Florida airport.
4. The Recent Fort Lauderdale Tragedy Was on Many People’s Minds & People Reported on Social Media That the Orlando Incident Was Causing Delays
Concern was exacerbated by the mass shooting that occurred earlier in the year at the airport in Fort Lauderdale. In that incident, a gunman targeted people standing at a baggage claim carousel, killing five people.
There were no reports of injuries at Orlando airport on May 30. Many people on social media expressed concern, however, as the reports of a gunman inside the airport circulated.
5. No Shots Were Fired in Orlando but a Rental Car Employee Heard Gunfire
According to WFTV, “While a rental car employee told Channel 9 he heard what sounded like gunfire, no shots had been fired.”
This article will be updated as more is learned about the Orlando incident.