KENNER, La. - A man carrying a copy of the Quran and invoking the name of Allah fired a shotgun in the ticket lobby of the Louis Armstrong International Airport on Wednesday, injuring two people before he was tackled by bystanders, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee said.
Lee said the man later told investigators he fired because people in the airport had made fun of the turban he was wearing.
"That's his story. We don't know what really happened,'' Lee said.
The shotgun blast struck one woman, an airline customer, in the stomach. Lee said she was in guarded condition at Kenner Regional Medical Center.
A Southwest Airlines employee was hit in the hand.
Lee identified the suspect as Patrick Gott, 43, of Pensacola, Fla.
The shooting occurred in the cavernous lobby, away from the concourses where security screeners check for weapons. Flights were continuing but delays were reported.
Lee said Gott told deputies he was in the terminal when people began making fun of his turban. He then left the terminal, took a duffel bag with a sawed off shotgun out of his car, went back inside and fired. It happened about 3:40 p.m.
Witnesses said the gun may have misfired or jammed after the first shot.
"I heard one very loud boom,'' said Mary Ann Rouanet, a US Airways ticketing agent. She said she ducked behind the counter and heard a series of clicks. Meanwhile other employees escaped by scrambling out of sight through the baggage conveyor.
Another witness, Jonathon Jenkins, told WWL television that the shooter was subdued by another man after the gun jammed.
"Everyone scattered. Everyone went down in the middle of the lobby,'' Jenkins said. "I went down and when I came up I noticed a man with a shotgun in his hand ... He went to pump the gun again and it jammed.''