Portion of LAX evacuated due to traffic stop; 3 auto theft suspects arrested

A "felony stop'' in front of a Los Angeles International Airport terminal Sunday netted a suspected car thief, but created disruption as some people decided to flee the commotion by exiting onto the tarmac.

That security breach forced the complete evacuation of LAX Terminal 3 and delayed a smal number of flights to and from the airport.

About 9 a.m., Los Angeles airport police conducted a "felony vehicle stop''on th eupper ramp in front of Terminal 3 -- an operation thjat includes officers drawing weapons. In an effort to control the crime scene, as well as the public's safety, officers ushered people off the sidewalks and back into the terminal, said Officer Rob Pedregon of the Los Angeles Airport Police.

Police did not direct anybody onto the tarmac, but some people did exit through an emergency door and onto the airfield, where they were quickly contained and moved back into the public area, Pedregon said.

Because of those security breaches, the terminal was evacuated and passengers re-screened as officers and explosive detection canines conducted a security check, he said.

When police stopped the suspected stolen vehicle -- a 2013 Chevrolet Sonic -- four people were inside, and a fifth had already emerged to enter the terminal, Pedregon said. All five were detained for questioning, and the driver was arrested without incident, he said.

He was identified as Larry McKenney, 35, of Humble, Texas, according to airport police.

People either ran or were escorted out of the terminal onto a tarmac at Terminal 3, said airport spokeswoman Mary Grady.

"Some people got over-concerned and went onto the tarmac,'' Grady told City News Service.

"The situation was and is quite dynamic, and we are still putting together exact details,'' Grady said. "The bottom line is that we evacuated the entire terminal,'' she said, referring to Terminal 3.

A total of 18 flights -- nine inbound and nine outbound -- were delayed, and passengers said they were being kept on arriving flights in holding areas. The terminal is used by Allegiant Air and Boutique Air, as well as Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit and Virgin American airlines.

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