A California man headed to Chicago to surprise his sister for her birthday describes the scene at Los Angeles when a gunman opened fire. A Chicago native was wounded in the shooting. Regina Waldroup reports.
A Chicago native was among the wounded in a shooting at a Los Angeles International Airport security checkpoint Friday morning.
Lake Forest High School and University of Ilinois graduate Brian Ludmer, 29, was shot in the leg while he was making his way to board a flight destined for Chicago. A Transportation Security Administration employee and three others were wounded when a gunman removed a semi-automatic rifle from a bag and opened fire.
Ludmer's mother found out about the shooting when her son called her from an ambulance.
"I'm distraught, I'm upset, you know I just want to get there," the mother told NBC 5 via phone as she was looking for a flight to L.A.
Ludmer underwent surgery and is expected to fully recover from his injuries. He works as the technical director at a theatre in Los Angeles.
"Thank God he'll be ok, we're going to keep him in our prayers, but it's just so close to home and it just seems to keep happening more and more," said Sandy King, a neighbor of the Ludmer family in Lake Forest.
Ludmer works as a technical director for a high school in Los Angeles.
"He's scared but in reasonable good spirits," said Dan Stepenosky, superintendent of the Los Virgenes Unified School District. "He was interviewed by the FBI yesterday. Brian was not a target."
Stepenosky said Ludmer is scheduled to undergo more surgery Monday.
Federal officials identified the alleged gunman Friday afternoon as 23-year-old Paul Ciancia, of Los Angeles, NBC News reported.
West Chicago resident Brittany Antos was in the airport when the shooting happened.
"All of a sudden I heard people screaming for everyone to get down right now. It was loud and aggresive enough to know that they were serious. I ran out the door the moment I saw everyone begin to throw themselves to the ground," Antos said.
Kirk Stinson spent much of his time since the shooting Facetiming with family in Joliet.
Stinson was minutes away from boarding a plane bound for Chicago -- a surprise for his sister's 50th birthday -- when shots rang out.
"Someone screamed out guns, guns," he said. "The panic was hard to absorb."
Stinse said he focused on trying to get away from the shooter.
"I led a group of people into the corridor, but the person guarding the door was too nervous to remember the code," he said.
He waited behind a pillar until everything calmed down and when the door finally opened he said everyone rushed on the tarmac.
"All I could think about was getting in touch with my wife and kids," he said. "This experience will be with me forever. I have never felt anything like that in my life and I pray that no one else gets a chance to."