A gunman is in custody after a crisis situation lasting several hours at Orlando International Airport.
- Incident in the rental car section, Orlando International Airport, Terminal A
- Airport spokesperson: Suspect threatened to do harm to himself, others
- Police contained the suspect, crisis negotiators talked to him
- Suspect now in custody, according to Orlando police
- FHP: All roads in the area are now back open
Orlando police identified the man as Michael Pettigrew, 26. Officers responded to a call about a weapon in the Terminal A rental car area at the airport around 7:30 p.m.
Police Chief John Mina says the officers realized Pettigrew was mentally distressed when they arrived when he pointed a gun at the officers and said "shoot me, shoot me!"
Police immediately contained the area and a crisis negotiator was brought in, who spent several hours talking to Pettigrew, eventually getting him to allow them to take him into custody under the Baker Act.
"I think when the officers got there they realized this was a person who was in mental distress and basically wanted to do the whole 'suicide by cop' thing," Mina said. "So in cases like this we are going to try to peacefully negotiate with him. All of the passengers and people had been evacuated from the area, it was contained, there was no rush to try and arrest the suspect and cause a deadly force situation."
Once police had him, they said they realized his gun was not a real gun, although it looked real.
While police negotiated with Pettigrew, airport operations were able to continue on the Terminal B side of the airport. There were delays on the Terminal A side.
Pettigrew was a former member of the military, having been with the Marines from 2009 to 2012, Mina said.
Pettigrew is facing one count of aggravated assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer.
From Florida Highway Patrol:
Agencies involved are working to reopen traffic and clear congestion. We appreciate everyone's understanding and patience. This takes time.— FHP Orlando (@FhpOrlando) May 31, 2017
From Orlando Police:
UPDATE: Gunman is in custody. Everyone is safe. Will brief as soon as possible in the media staging area. pic.twitter.com/8sNZ3Vjmv7— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) May 31, 2017
According to FHP, there are still some roads closed around the airport. Continue to avoid the area.
Florida Highway Patrol says roads around the airport remain shut down and are urging people to avoid the OIA area.
Also, from Orlando International Airport:
With ongoing events, FAA has placed a Traffic Management Program in effect for arriving flights. Arrivals may be delayed at departure point.— Orlando Intl Airport (@MCO) May 31, 2017
From Orlando Police:
UPDATE: Armed suspect is contained but not in custody. Suspect is speaking with a crisis negotiator. Please report only confirmed info.— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) May 31, 2017
Entrances to the airport are open, according to the airport's Twitter account. However, traffic around the airport is congested. FHP closed the roads leading to the airport, but have not said when the roads will reopen.
Contact your airline to find out the status of a flight.
There are several erroneous reports on social media right now. Orlando police is making it clear this is NOT an active shooter situation and no shots have been fired. No reports of anyone hurt.
Orlando police are reiterating that the suspect has NOT been arrested. There may be some confusion because initial updates says the suspect is contained. Police say the man with the weapon has been contained to the rental car area, but he has not been arrested yet.
Location of the incident
The incident was located in the rental car pickup area of Terminal A.
Terminal A services the following airlines:
- Aer Lingus
- Air Berlin
- Miami Air
- Virgin America
- Air Transat
- Virgin Atlantic
This is a developing story. Check back for the latest.