(LOS ANGELES) — Leon Saryan was walking through the security line at Los Angeles International Airport Friday, belt and shoes in hand, when a gunman approached him and pointed a long-barreled gun at him.
“I was cowering in a corner, he looked at me and he said, ‘TSA?’ I shook my head no, and he kept on going,” Saryan told ABC News.
“I just prayed to God. That’s all I did. I just prayed,” Saryan said.
The shooting occurred around 12:30 p.m. EST at LAX’s Terminal 3. Police believe a lone gunman walked into the terminal near the security checkpoint and began shooting, sending thousands of passengers scattering onto tarmacs and into other parts to the airport.
At least six were injured, according to police.
The suspect is now in custody.
“I had just gotten through the security check and I was picking up my stuff. I still had my shoes and belt off,” he said. “I went as fast as I could and got part of the way and then the guy that I saw, one guy I saw came through and he had a rifle.”
Saryan said that the gunman approached the security line firing his gun, hitting the TSA agent that had been helping him.
“There was a TSA agent who was carrying my shoes. When the (gunman) started coming down the corridor, this guy ducked into a store, but he had been hit. He was right next to me while we were running, and then he had got hit. He was bleeding a little bit, but I think he was probably going to be ok,” Saryan said.
According to Saryan, the gunman fired three or four initial shots before “powering through” the security line, scattering TSA officers and people waiting in line and then firing additional shots as he walked down the corridor toward the gates.
“He wasn’t running, Saryan said of the gunman. “He was walking rather calmly. But he had his rifle in his hand, but he was ready to shoot anybody he wanted to… anybody he didn’t like, or whatever.”
“There were more shots. There was glass shattering. I think there was a Los Angeles advertising sign at the end of the corridor. The corridor kind of splits into two father down. And that thing was just shattered glass, so he was just shooting his way through the place,” Saryan said.
“I’m going to say about 20 shots that I heard. But it’s really hard, really hard to count when you’re trying to save yourself,” he said.
Jose Mares was in the airport with his wife and said everyone dove onto the floor when the gunfire began with a loud bang.
Mares said that while lying on the floor he was surrounded by people and luggage, so he grabbed some of the luggage and began stacking it up for protection.
Saryan watched the gunman continue on his way, firing the gun.
“Once he went down the corridor, I just kept cowering for about five minutes, until I didn’t hear any more shots or see any more activity,” Saryan said.
When the shooting dwindled to just a few shots, and then he ran to where the TSA agent he’d seen get shot was hiding.
“I went to the security agent because I knew where he was hiding, and I got my shoes back from him. I saw he was bleeding. I told him, ‘Are you all right? Do you need help?’ He wasn’t worried. He wasn’t bleeding that badly. There was a lot of blood, but a little blood goes a long way I think.”
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