COLUMBUS, Ohio – A man who tried to buy an airline ticket using a fake ID was fatally shot Wednesday after returning to his illegally parked car, where he lunged at an airport police officer with a knife during a confrontation, police said.
The man had multiple knives on him and suspicious items in his car that led to a bomb squad investigation, Columbus police Sgt. Rich Weiner said. The man was identified only as a Columbus-area resident in his early 40s pending notification of his relatives.
After the first shots were fired, the man got up and headed back toward the terminal, at which point a second airport officer shot him, Weiner said. It was unclear whether he was shot by both officers. He was shot multiple times, Weiner said.
Police are investigating the man’s background and why he was using a fake ID to buy a ticket. He tried at one point to use a woman’s ID, Weiner said.
“At this point this is just a violent encounter between an armed man and the officers here,” the sergeant said.
Surveillance video, which was not released, will show what happened, he said.
The incident caused delays of just over an hour during the search of the man’s vehicle, when portions of the ticket lobby were cordoned off and a checkpoint to a Delta concourse was closed, said Elaine Roberts, president and chief executive officer of Columbus Regional Airport Authority.
Departing passengers who normally would be dropped off on the level where the shooting happened were redirected to a lower level.
The confrontation occurred after the officer called a tow truck for the man’s vehicle, which he left illegally parked in the departures area.
The airport and the Transportation Security Administration prohibit unauthorized vehicles in the departures area, Roberts said, adding the shooting was the first such incident in the airport’s history.
“We are very pleased that we are back to a normal state for passengers,” she said.
Matt Diehl of Columbus was waiting to board a flight in a growing crowd. He had two hours before it took off for Philadelphia for business, but he wasn’t sure if it wouldn’t be delayed.
“I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but at this point I’m not optimistic,” he said.