Australia police say man in custody after airport evacuation

CANBERRA, Australia — A man who falsely claimed to have a bomb and menaced a woman with a knife forced the evacuation of Brisbane International Airport for more than two hours, police said on Sunday.

Police ended the emergency late Saturday by shooting the 50-year-old man with non-lethal bean bag shotgun rounds and arresting him. There were no injuries reported, and police said the emergency was not related to terrorism.

The emergency began in the terminal’s food court when the man pulled a knife on a screaming woman and placed a metal box on a table.

Hundreds of panicked travelers fled the scene.

“It was a blood-curdling little scream, and she just bolted across the forecourt,” a man, who was not identified, told Nine Network television.

Another man, who also was not identified, told Nine: “He had one knife to start with, then when he looped back around he pulled out a second knife.”

“They were big carving knife-like things. There weren’t normal little knives, they were big,” the same witness added.

A woman, who was not identified, told Nine that the sound of the woman screaming sent people running. Somebody yelled that a man was armed with a knife or gun, she said.

“I just grabbed my kids, and I just ran out the door,” she said.

Police opened fire with bean-bags rounds after the man claimed to have a bomb in the metal box, Police Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming said. He was arrested soon after.

“His behavior elevated such that they were quite concerned about him, and some bean-bag rounds were discharged and they struck him in the torso,” Fleming told reporters.

“That was important so we didn’t have someone whom we suspected at that time might have been up to no good wandering the airport,” Fleming added.

The man, from Gold Coast city near Brisbane, was examined by paramedics and had “no significant injuries.” Fleming said.

Police locked down the airport for more than two hours and halted airport train services.

The man was charged on Sunday with contravening a restraining order, stalking with a weapon, stealing, assaulting police and making a false statement about a bomb. He has not been publicly named and will appear in a Brisbane court on Monday.


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