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Security expert speaks on McCarran International Airport involving police

Posted at 5:48 PM, Nov 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-21 21:05:41-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Questions are raised about how police handled an officer involved shooting at the airport Thursday morning. The shooting happening just days before the busy Thanksgiving holiday.

Police swarming McCarran International Airport Thursday morning after an officer-involved shooting at the tarmac. Las Vegas police says they shot a man who was in a restricted area of the airport and attacked their officers while being escorted out.

“On contact with someone like this, you already have heightened awareness, you’re not sure how this is going to go. Is this going to escalate to something? Is this person up to no good.

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Security expert Adam Coughran says a situation like this anywhere can turn violent in a split second for officers who must account for the dangers. However, he says officer-involved shootings are rare at airports especially in secured restricted areas with no travelers. Those that have happened involved active shooters.

“Those are shootings in public areas, an active shooter most recently at LAX just a few years ago,” Coughran said.

He says the decision to keep the airport running normally is not unusual.

“They made the call there saying the area he breached is not critical to operations at this particular terminal and we can continue our search in a manner that’s both safe for travelers as well as ultimately finding this person and containing him.”

Coughran says if the intruder enters areas where travelers are passing by a shut down is possible. He says any emergency situation is fluid.

“Every situation is going to be a different call and in this particular case, the airport was fortunate enough that the incident happened outside of public areas and happened in that restricted area.

Coughran credits police and airport security for keeping the area contained while not disrupting travelers especially with the Thanksgiving holidays coming up.

“It could have been hours upon hours of disruption and tens of thousands of dollars in loss in that,” he said.

As for passengers, Coughran says if they do see something suspicious say something.

Airport staff says the shooting and the investigation did not affect operations but couldn’t comment further with the shooting remaining an active investigation.