Last updated: 06:25 PM ET, Sat March 21 2015

Man Attacks TSA with Machete at New Orleans Airport

Airlines & Airports | Michael Isenbek | March 21, 2015

Man Attacks TSA with Machete at New Orleans Airport

Photo of suspect courtesy of WDSU 6 News

A 63-year-old individual engaged in a one-man assault on TSA agents at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport Friday night, before being shot three times, CNN reported.

Richard White entered a Concourse B security checkpoint and began spraying Transportation Security Administration Agents and passersby with wasp spray. White then pulled out a machete from a his waistband and began wielding it against agents and bystanders. A TSA agent was forced to block the weapon with a piece of luggage as White chased him through a checkpoint metal detector.

This prompted Lt. Heather Slyve of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office to open fire, striking White in the chest, face, and thigh. In addition to hitting White, a bullet from Slyve’s gun hit a TSA agent in a non-life-threatening area, and a bystander was grazed in the arm by another bullet as well. Other bystanders sustained minor injuries as they tripped over obstacles trying to get away from the melee.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand explained that the agency is still trying to figure out a motive. "We don't know what the motivation is," Normand said. "It is still early.” Authorities are still trying to determine why White was at the airport, but he is a taxi driver, and had recently received his chauffeur license.

According to Normand, his prior criminal history was some disturbing the peace charges and some traffic tickets.

In terms of a national security threat, Normand does not see any indication that this incident should be seen this way.

In a statement, the airport said, "the situation is under control and the airport is secure." Southwest Airlines flights temporarily operated out of Concourse C, but as of now, "all concourses are open."

"There is no threat to the public at this time," the airport said, "and the airport is returning to normal operations."

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