Flights at Dallas Love Field were allowed to resume Monday after a shooting at the Dallas airport, but it could be hours before flights start operating normally again.
Nearly half of Love Field’s arriving and departing flights were canceled Monday and dozens more delayed until the evening after a woman opened fire towards the ceiling at Dallas Love Field and was quickly shot by a Dallas Police officer on site.
The FAA stopped arriving and departing for the shooting for several hours, finally lifting a ground stop at 2:30 pm after hundreds of passengers were sent out of the terminal and went home. Others had to go through security again before they could get back into the terminal.
According to Dallas police Chief Eddie García, the 37-year-old woman was dropped off at the airport about 11 am, where she went inside the bathroom and came out wearing a hoodie. According to García, she then pulled out a gun, aimed it towards the ceiling and fired several shots. Only the shooter was injured, according to the police.
However, it took more than an hour after the ground stop was lifted for another flight to leave the airport because passengers were evacuated and had to get back through security and check bags.
Most of Southwest’s flights through 6 pm Monday will be canceled, airline spokesman Chris Perry said.
The airport reopened officially around 3:30 pm, but there are “residual delays,” said Love Field spokeswoman Lauren Rounds.
Closing down operations at a major airport was causing delays across the country as Southwest Airlines worked to recover.
Dallas Love Field is dominated by Southwest Airlines, and it is the smaller of the two airports that serve North Texas. The airport was scheduled to handle 366 commercial flights Monday with more than 56,000 passengers.
It’s one of Southwest’s biggest airports, meaning flight cancellations in Dallas would likely trickle through the carrier’s nationwide network. Southwest had 252 cancellations Monday nationwide, about 6% of all of its flights nationwide, according to flight-tracking website Flightaware.com. Thunderstorms in the northeast also hampered operations Monday, the airline said.
Southwest Airlines spokesman Chris Perry confirmed the airline has paused all departures and arrivals at the airport. “There’s no greater priority for us than the safety of our Employees and Customers, all of which are reportedly safe, and we’re deeply saddened for all involved and impacted,” he said.
Southwest issued a travel waiver for Dallas Love Field passengers through Tuesday to allow them to rebook flights to the same destination without facing any kind of fee or having to pay the difference for booking a different flight.
The airport evacuated the building and began shelter-in-place operations as police responded to the active shooter. A spokesperson for the airport said no other injuries have been reported.
Even after police had secured the scene, the airport was off limits to passengers and employees as law enforcement investigated the scene. Since passengers were evacuated during the investigation, even those that had already gone through Transportation Security Administration screening lines had to be screened again.
Joan and Roger Chamberlain were sitting at a gate waiting for their flight to Las Vegas on Southwest Airlines when they saw a rush of people headed from the security area.
“People just started running like crazy,” said Roger Chamberlain of Dallas.
Their flight was delayed shortly after as the FAA and the airline halted operations. About an hour later, they were told to leave the airport. With no updates on when the airport might fully reopen and no chance of making their connecting flight in Las Vegas, they decided to leave and go home.
“I think we’re not going to catch that flight or the connecting flight,” Joan Chamberlain said nearly two hours after the shooting as she was leaving the airport. “It’s just people solid. No one’s going anywhere.”