Machete-Wielding Man Attacks TSA Agents At Louis Armstrong Airport, Is Shot By Police

Mar 21, 2015

Emergency medical personnel and law enforcement officers tend to Richard White, laying on the stretcher, and another victim. White was shot by police after attacking TSA agents in the Louis Armstrong airport with wasp spray and a machete.
Credit Farah Stockman / Boston Globe

This story is on a developing situation, and has been and will be updated.

A 63-year-old man attacked TSA agents at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport with a machete and wasp spray on Friday night.

The man, identified by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office as Richard White, of Kenner, was transported to a local hospital and underwent surgery, but died Saturday afternoon around 4 p.m. in a New Orleans hospital.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand told the Associated Press that investigators are still trying to piece together witness interviews. Normand said White was swinging the machete and chasing a female TSA agent when JPSO Lt. Heather Slyve opened fire, hitting him in the face, chest and leg.

A TSA agent was struck by one of the bullets in the arm.

Deputies discovered Molotov cocktails (half-pint-sized Mason jars filled with gasoline and with cloth wicks) in a bag White was carrying, and the bomb squad found smoke bombs — and tanks of acetylene, Freon and oxygen — in his car.

"We have been able to determine there is a mental illness component," Sheriff Normand said in a Saturday news conference at the airport.

White was a cab driver who recently received his chauffeur's license, according to WDSU-TV.

Farah Stockman, a columnist for the Boston Globe, and other bystanders were in the terminal during the incident and sent these tweets:

Statement from New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu on the incident Friday night at Louis Armstrong International Airport:

"The situation at Louis Armstrong International Airport is under control and the airport is secure. There is no threat to the public at this time, and the airport is returning to normal operations. We expect Concourse B - where the incident occurred - to fully reopen tomorrow.

"TSA agents, law enforcement officers and airport officials all acted quickly to stop the perpetrator and secure the scene. Our thoughts are with our security officials injured in the line of duty, and we wish them a full and speedy recovery.

"Passenger safety is the number one priority at Louis Armstrong International Airport, and we will continue to closely monitor the situation."

Delayed and canceled Southwest Airlines flights listed on the New Orleans International Airport website.
Credit FlyMSY.com

Louis Armstrong Airport is located in Jefferson and St. Charles parishes, but is owned and operated by the City of New Orleans.

Southwest Airlines flights at Armstrong airport leave from the concourse where the attack took place. Many flights were canceled or delayed.