I was also in Terminal 1. Earlier in the comments exchange, a dear friend has referred to me-the one jammed in a toilet stall with four other women.
I can only relay what I experienced inside and outside the terminal.
At 10:14pm, I went into the ladies room across from Gate 3, my departure gate. The crowd in the area was quiet, mostly people getting ready for their overnight flights. If the TV monitors were on, they were not loud and no crowds were gathered. There was no one cheering for the Olympics.
Anyway, back in the washroom I was waiting in a small line of women, when there was a sudden commotion outside in the open area-there was a thunderous sound…people running, then screaming, then multiple voices shouting for everyone to get down. At that moment, someone rushed into the bathroom and said “there’s a shooter.” Five of us, jammed ourselves into the first stall on the right side of the bathroom. I was in the back on the floor, across from a mother who was extremely panicked because her daughter was out in the boarding area.
Then there were two gunshots. Pop. Pop. Trust me-when you hear them-you know what they are-and when you’re jammed in a toilet stall with nowhere to go, gunshots are the last thing you are hoping to hear. Also, understand the experience the other four women and I were having, was an audio experience-we clearly heard them without the interference of visual stimulation or distraction.
The distressed mother in the stall with us, really started to come undone at this point, and we all did our best to calm her, and tried to stay quiet.
Then there was a moment of calm. At that point, the woman who was sitting/leaning on me, said something along the lines of ‘he’s right there.” We were whispering of course, I asked who, and she said “a guy with a gun.” She could see what was happening from the reflection of the mirror over the sink, out into the boarding area. I asked her if he was in uniform and she said no. (note that five of us jammed into a toilet stall meant the door was not able to close, thus her ability to see the mirror and what it was reflecting.) At that moment-I thought I might be shot-we all did.
Could it have been a plain clothes cop? Perhaps, we didn’t know…still don’t.
A bit more time passed and voices starting shouting “all clear, everyone evacuate the terminal.” There was no one running at this point, but walking very quickly out to the front of the terminal. We were all told to go to the far right end of the roadway in front of the terminal, and then once again, cops started running towards the crowd, shouting for everyone to get down. Everyone was lying on the pavement as police were, guns drawn, looking down from the departures level, onto the arrivals level. Multiple groups of police officers were running with guns drawn and someone had something that looked like a small shoulder rocket launcher? I don’t know artillery, so I don’t know what it was. We were on the ground for a bit of time and then told to go to the opposite end of the roadway, to make way for emergency vehicles.
There was no communication, just as everyone has been reporting. People would try to ask the authorities what was happening and they were barked at and told not to ask any questions. No one was taking statements.
I want to note that there was an article that speculated that people in Terminal 1 had read on a breaking news site that there was trouble in Terminal 8 and that’s what started the panic…but that’s not true. Where I was, panic didn’t start until authorities were running and ordering everyone to get on the floor (inside the terminal) or ground. (outside.) Frankly, when we were all finally outside and people started looking at social media, it was then information was coming up about Terminal 8 and we all thought they had terminals mixed up. This was not a case of people freaking out, because they thought something was coming our way.
I have a few theories about what might have happened, but I can tell you that the “official” story is inaccurate, to the point of being an out and out lie. They reported there were no injuries. There were. Trampling injuires. They reported it was like a social gathering in front of Term 8. I don’t know what the hell was going on over there, but it certainly wasn’t that way at Term 1, (unless you feel that being ordered to lie down on the ground while cops run around with their guns drawn, is some kind of party.) And there has been no report that tells that this incident continued outside Terminal 1, which it did.
I don’t believe people panic for no reason. Something happened to spark all of this and it was something real. I hope the truth surfaces, but what I truly hope happens is far better training for airport personnel and TSA agents-there’s got to be a way for us all to be safer.