Gunman charged over Australian airport shooting

Armed police at Canberra airport. Photo: 14 August 2022

A 63-year-old man has been charged with firearm offences after firing shots inside Australia’s Canberra airport on Sunday afternoon.

Police said the man, from New South Wales, sat on seats in a check-in area before shooting a number times into the building’s windows.

No-one was injured in the incident, which sent passengers running in fear.

Gun violence is rare in Australia, which has some of the toughest firearms laws in the world.

The suspect was quickly detained, and a gun recovered, however police say his motives are still unclear.

The capital’s airport was evacuated as a precaution and several flights were cancelled or rescheduled.

Australian media reported that the suspect fired approximately five shots. Bullet holes could be seen in the glass windows of the terminal.

Footage has emerged on social media purportedly showing a man being arrested by police officers at the airport.

Witnesses described chaos and confusion, with one woman telling the BBC she hid under a desk in one of the airport lounges.

Alison, another witness, said she had just put her bags onto the security check belt when she heard the gun shots.

“I turned around and there was a man standing with a pistol, like a small one, facing out towards the car drop-off,” she was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

Lily Thomson, a reporter for public broadcaster ABC, said she heard the shots and realised something was wrong when people started screaming “run”.

“I saw this grandma with a baby and the fear in her face and I knew it was something serious.

“So we all ran and I stayed with that grandma and her baby and hid behind an information desk. We stayed there for a couple of minutes until security told us to evacuate out to the car park. “Everyone was hiding behind chairs and people were running. It was terrifying,” Ms Thomson said.

Some passengers were stuck on board planes on the tarmac as police officers swept the terminal. The passengers were later allowed to disembark.

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