SYDNEY (REUTERS) – Australian capital Canberra’s airport was evacuated and a man arrested after gunshots were heard in the main terminal building, police said on Sunday (Aug 14).
One person has been taken into custody and a firearm was recovered, the police said in a statement.
There have been no reported injuries, it added.
Police said CCTV footage has been reviewed and at this time, the person in custody is believed to be the only person responsible for the incident.
“The Canberra Airport terminal was evacuated as a precaution and the situation at the airport is contained,” the statement said.
The motive behind the shooting is not immediately clear.
The gunman had entered the airport’s departure area in the early afternoon and sat close to the terminal’s large glass windows, detective acting superintendent Dave Craft told reporters outside the building.
He added that the gunman waited five minutes before pulling out his firearm and “let off approximately five rounds”.
The airport was evacuated and locked down, leading to the suspension of flights.
But normal operations resumed after the airport was reopened later in the day, though some flights had been cancelled.
Mr Craft said the crime scene indicated that the man had fired shots at the glass windows in the terminal.
No shots were directed at passengers or staff, he said.
Several apparent bullet impacts were visible on the glass front on the second floor of the airport, television images showed.
A woman identified only as Helen was quoted as telling The Guardian newspaper that she saw a man “shooting into the air” not far from the check-in counter, describing him as being middle-aged and “clean cut”.
A journalist with Australian public broadcaster ABC, Lily Thomson, reported that she heard the shots before people started to scream.
She saw a fearful woman looking after a baby.
“So we all ran and I stayed with that grandma and her baby and hid behind an information desk,” Thomson reported on ABC.
“We stayed there for a couple of minutes until security told us to evacuate out to the carpark,” she added.
“Everyone was hiding behind chairs and people were running.”
Another passenger who gave only her first name, Alison, told the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age newspapers that she saw the gunman.
“We were in security and heard the first gunshots. I turned around and there was a man standing with a pistol, like a small one, facing out towards the car drop-off,” she said.
“Someone yelled get down, get down and we just ran out of there.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he had been briefed on the shooting incident.
“I am advised a man has been detained and there is no ongoing threat present,” the prime minister said in a statement.