Las Vegas Airport False Shooter Report Caused by Loud Noise, Suspect Arrested

Posted on: August 16, 2022, 11:29h. 

Last updated on: August 16, 2022, 12:00h.

UPDATE: Police have identified the man suspected of sparking Sunday’s Las Vegas Airport panic, according to the Associated Press. Stefan Mathias Hutchinson, 33, of Carmichael, Calif., was arrested at the airport on a felony burglary charge. He is being held at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas pending a court appearance.

The loud noise mistaken for gunfire was described by police as “The sharp sound of a door closing or a trash can toppling.” Hutchinson was not armed.

On Sunday, mass panic erupted at 4:30 a.m. over an active shooter at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas. There was no shooter, only a loud noise in Terminal 1 caused by someone taken into police custody.

Harry Reid International Airport Las Vegas sign
A sign greets travelers at the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, above. The airport was the scene of a panic on Sunday morning over a false report of an active shooter. (Image: Harry Reid International Airport)

Nevertheless, hundreds of travelers ran for their lives through exits and TSA checkpoints. This caused flights to be grounded, as the terminal was shut down and cleared. No major injuries were reported.

According to a tweet from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the noise was created by “an unruly subject” who was taken into custody. Police did not say what, if any, charges they faced.

Dramatic videos posted by Twitter users showed terrified passengers running from the gates toward exits. Other reports said hundreds abandoned their bags and rushed toward TSA checkpoints, where security did not stop them as they headed toward the gates.

The airport tweeted a note about the false alarm at 6 a.m. that morning. They later tweeted that travelers should “expect delays,” as all passengers were cleared from the terminal and rescreened at security checkpoints. As of 9:30 a.m., reported that 111 flights had been delayed and 26 more canceled due to the airport chaos.

Social Upheaval

Panic over the initial loud noise was amplified by dozens of social media posts appearing to confirm the false rumor.

“I’m at the Las Vegas Airport. All flights stopped. Active shooter at TSA,” Joe Hall tweeted at 4:50 a.m.

Many others took to social media to post their reactions and experience, both before and after the false alarm was announced.

Supposedly a shooter at the b gate at Las Vegas airport. I’m safe. No idea what is going on. We all rushed through TSA,” user outkastz tweeted at 5:15 a.m.

“The active shooter situation at Las Vegas airport this morning has been harrowing and terrifying,” tweeted user Jesa Belle at 6:20 a.m. “Everyone now sent out of the airport to re-check in.”

Airport Panics Now a Thing

Airport shooting panics are becoming an unfortunate feature of modern existence.

A similar panic erupted at Harry Reid in April 2022 after several loud bangs were caused by a vaping device that overheated and exploded while being charged in a terminal.

In April, dozens fled Boston Logan Airport in a panic over a suspicious package that turned out to be a Playstation video game console.