Man arrested, Canberra Airport evacuated after gunfire in check-in area
A man with a gun has been arrested following a shooting near the security screening at Canberra Airport on Sunday afternoon.
The terminal was evacuated about 1.30pm, when a man fired about five shots towards glass windows. Police said no shots were directed toward any passengers, staff or other people.
The man was arrested at the scene shortly after and surrendered the gun to police, who later confirmed the situation was under control and no injuries had been reported.
How the shooting unfolded
Police released a statement about 2.45pm saying the person arrested was believed to have acted alone.
“One person was taken into custody and a firearm was recovered,” ACT Policing said in the statement.
“CCTV has been reviewed and at this time the person in custody is believed to be the only person responsible for this incident.
“The Canberra Airport terminal was evacuated as a precaution and the situation at the Airport is contained.”
Speaking later, ACT Policing’s Detective acting Superintendent Dave Craft said the man had not gone through any security screening before opening fire, and there was no indication of any motive.
He stressed there was no threat to the community following the incident.
“I just need to reassure people that the airport is safe, that ACT Policing have responded, and there is no ongoing threat to the community or to passengers arriving and departing,” he said.
There was confusion on the tarmac, with a recording revealing a worried pilot calling the control tower.
“Do you know anything about what is happening in the terminal? There seems to be a lot of people running and nobody is answering our radio calls,” they say.
All flights were grounded following the incident but he airport reopened at 5pm.
Police had earlier told travellers and other members of the public to avoid the airport.
A number of journalists at the airport posted images and video of the aftermath, showing windows damaged by gunshots, and police questioning travellers who were in the terminal at the time.
According to the Canberra Airport website, flights began arriving and departing again shortly before 6pm.
There were five planes still on the tarmac with passengers waiting to disembark when the incident unfolded.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he had been briefed by the Australian Federal Police.
Timeline of the Canberra Airport shooting
About 1.30pm (AEST)
- A man opens fire in the Canberra Airport terminal, near a security screening around the check-in area
- The terminal is evacuated and all flights are grounded. Passengers on arriving flights remain stuck on the tarmac, unable to disembark
- Footage emerges on social media of a man being arrested by police with what appears to be a handgun on the floor in front of him
- ACT Policing release a statement confirming one man has been arrested and a gun taken from him
- Police say there is no ongoing threat, and that the man is believed to have acted alone
- They confirm no injuries have been reported
- ACT Policing confirm the man fired around five shots inside the terminal, but say it doesn’t appear they were targeted at people. Instead, they say the gunman fired towards the terminal’s glass windows
- Police confirm the terminal remains in lockdown, but stress there is no threat to the community
- Canberra Airport reopens and resumes normal operations.
- “Please check your travel plans directly with your airline if you are travelling today,” a tweet said.