JFK Airport Evacuated After False Reports of Shots Fired

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Reports of shots fired inside JFK Airport sparked panic on Sunday night, but officials later said that there was never any gunfire. Terminal 8 was evacuated around 9:30 p.m. as reports of an “active shooter” spread on social media. Multiple agencies responded, and photos show hundreds of passengers marching with their hands up, hiding behind chairs, and fleeing the airport:

About 45 minutes after the first incident, there was a report of shots fired at Terminal 1. That terminal was evacuated as well, and the Van Wyck Expressway was partially closed.

Passengers said their flights were diverted from JFK with no explanation. Around 11 p.m. it was reported that The Federal Aviation Administration had ordered a ground stop.

Several hours later, the Port Authority said in a statement that its initial investigation “does not indicate shots were fired,” and the terminals were evacuated “to be cautious.” “There are no injuries,” the statement continued. “At this time, no firearm, rounds or shell casings or other evidence of shots fired has been found.” After midnight, the NYPD said it had concluded that there wasn’t any gunfire:

The authorities have yet to explain what caused the confusion, but a senior law-enforcement official told NBC News that it started when a woman coming off a plane said she thought she’d heard gunfire. It appears that she may have misinterpreted people clapping and cheering while watching the Olympics.

This post has been updated throughout.