Police shot and wounded a man at the city’s airport Tuesday after he grabbed a 3-year-old boy at knifepoint and sprinted through a security checkpoint, authorities said.
The 25-year-old man snatched the boy at a toy store in an unsecured area just outside a gate area at McCarran International Airport, officials said. The child was not harmed and was returned to his mother.
The man ran about 20 yards, making it through an exit lane before being confronted by three officers. One officer used a Taser gun to stun the man, police said.
He dropped the child, then charged at the officers, said police spokesman Jose Montoya. Two officers fired once each.
'The system worked'
The man was taken to a hospital, Montoya said. His condition was not immediately known, and police did not identify him. No motive was disclosed.
“The system worked,” said Elaine Sanchez, airport spokeswoman. “As soon as the breach occurred, the police were in place, and the system worked.”
The man had been browsing alone in a Kid’s Wear & Toys store for three or four minutes before snatching the child as he and his mother played with toy cars near the back of the store, said Blanca Gomez, a store employee.
“I turned around and saw him run. The lady, she was screaming, ’My baby, my baby!” said Gomez, adding that the man and the mother did not appear to know each other. “It was fast; it was scary.”
The airport checkpoint was shut down for about 10 minutes, but there were no delays or interruptions of service at the airport, one of the nation’s busiest, Sanchez said.
The shooting is believed to the first at an airport since two federal air marshals fatally shot a passenger at Miami International Airport in December. In that case, the man uttered bomb threats and tried to reboard a plane. It was later learned he had bipolar disorder.