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Fil-Am celebrity recounts chaos, lockdown at LA airport

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Cars are backed up over a mile as air traffic begins after a shooting at Terminal 3 caused a shutdown at Los Angeles International Airport, Friday. AP

LOS ANGELES, California—Singer Becca Godinez was waiting for her suitcase at Los Angeles International Airport’s Terminal 5 Friday when she noticed the security staff looking tense and edgy.

“Then they told us the terminal was on lockdown, and we were asked to form these long lines, similar to those you see in Disneyland,” said Godinez, who flew in from Manila that morning.

Her plane landed around 8:40 a.m., not long before a gunman walked into LAX, pulled out an assault rifle out of his bag and opened fire. A Transportation Security Administration agent was killed and several others were injured. Three terminals were evacuated and shut down. Flights were restricted into LAX for several hours, and at least 118 flights en route to LAX were canceled or rerouted, according to news reports.

The stranded passengers were not allowed to use their cell phones, so Godinez had no clue why the terminal was shut down. A few hours later, airport staff informed them about the shooting.

“They told us that there could be a second shooter. I freaked out,” she said. “Everybody got down on the floor. With every little noise, we got jumpy. I kept thinking where we could hide if the gunman came after us. I realized there really was no place to hide. I just prayed for protection.”

Godinez said she felt sorry for a fellow Filipina, a tourist who was visiting the United States with her 12-year-old daughter for the first time. “They were supposed to meet friends in Van Nuys and drive to Las Vegas,” she said.

When they were finally released around 2 p.m., she managed to find her husband, Benito Miranda, who came to pick her up hours earlier but was caught up in what she described as a chaotic, almost surreal, scene outside the airport.

Godinez said people hurried with rolling bags and airport carts past ambulances, heavily armed cops and bomb-sniffing dogs. “No one was allowed in or out,” she said. “We couldn’t even get to where our car was parked.”

Evacuated passengers were loaded onto buses by the dozens, but Godinez and Miranda joined others who decided to walk off the airport grounds. They ended up walking for nearly an hour, from Terminal 5 to the 405 freeway, where their daughter picked them up. Godinez described the area around the airport, where roads had been closed, as “a ghost town.”

“It was quite an experience, but we’re just thankful that we’re safe,” she said.

The shooter, who has now been identified as Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, was apprehended by police after being shot multiple times.

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  • Ncarreonjr

    Just another crazy day in LA. You get used to it after a while. Try to avoid places with large crowds if possible. You do not know who is going to snap anytime/anywhere.

    • riza888

      There is no legal way to stop these types of actions, without impending on people’s civil rights. It’s going to happen, people just have to learn to deal with it.

  • junior tulo

    Fil-Am celebrity recounts chaos, lockdown at LA airport

    Fil Am celebrity…never heard of that celebrity.
    More appropriate…..Fil Am TNTs recount chaos at LA Airport.

    • mindforce

      Lola, you mean a Fil-Am (or Filipino-American) can be a TNT at the same time? Fil-Ams are Americans of Filipino descent. So how can an American be a TNT (or illegal migrant) in his own country? Tse!

      • crisostomo_ibarra_the3rd

        Ha ha Nasapul mo si junior tulo.

      • junior tulo

        Fil Ams are filipinos who have been Americanized but not legalized…tunggak.
        And there are plenty of them.

      • RyanF1

        Filipino-Americans are Filipinos like me who have been Naturalized as Americans. Otherwise they’d be plain Filipinos – Philippine Nationals, or plain Americans-of-Philippine-Descent. Whether TNT or lawful Permanent Residents, FIlipinos pa rin sila, hunghang! Huwag kang nag-iimbento ng bagong definiciones ng “Fil-Am”.

      • Littlebimby

        Nagalit sa yo, tinawag mo kasi ng lola…lalo pating lumabas na hindi alam ang sinasabi!!!!

    • Guest

      Becca Godinez was very popular during the 1970s. Very pretty.

      • junior tulo

        Sorry, never heard….maybe not born yet.

      • junior tulo

        very popular…maybe popular only.

  • ryq24

    It is easier to own a gun or automatic rifle than getting a driver’s license in the US. Something is really wrong with that.

    • junior tulo

      and why not….driver needs to drive, shooter needs to shoot.

    • deltabird

      Gun yes but not automatic rifle. You have got to jump a lot of hoops to even get a license to own a transferable automatic rifle or machine or the ATF folks will come and get you.

  • batangpaslit

    kung ang nabaril ay TSA staff, I do not mind. ang yayabang nila.

    • Littlebimby

      I understand your sentiment…lalo towards Filipinos..the immigration officers pag minsan lalo na kung Asian American sila….

      • batangpaslit

        akala nila sila lang ang naka intindi ng security. their attitude, referring to TSA staff, do not inspire cooperation. on the contrary, they provoke a tired, hungry, and sleepy passengers to anger
        talagang babalikan sila at babalikan ng pasahero na ginalit nila

      • junior tulo

        agree…akala nila Filipinos are illegals.

  • junior tulo

    One thing about Los Angeles is….the LAPD, LAX police are the best.
    They were able to take down the shooter at once before he kills again.
    The shooter killed only one considering that there were thousands passengers.

    Unlike in Manila hostage situation, one hostage taker and the Manila police were not able to take down the shooter that resulted in many tourist deaths.

    Kudos to LAPD….the best in the world.

    • Jay Ramos

      it depend on the situation on the ground, it is very easy for us to judge…the two situations are very different!

    • Aquino Manuel Erwin

      If they were the best in the world .. how did the gunman able to brought the rifle inside the airport ??? the best huh …

  • sigena

    mas safe pa talaga airport ng pilipinas maski luma

    • boybakal

      hindi naman safe sa mga nangungutong.

  • generalproblem

    because of global warming their are so many crazy people in america now. mainit ang ulo hehehehe



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