Archive for Saturday, July 6, 2002

Washburn group was at airport shooting

July 6, 2002

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— Some students from Topeka's Washburn University were at Los Angeles International Airport Thursday when a gunman killed two people at the ticket counter for the Israeli airline El Al before being shot dead by a security guard.

The 18 Washburn students were on their way to China as part of a study abroad program.

One of them, Jennie Johnson, had just called her mother from a phone outside the international terminal when hundreds of people began flooding out of the building.

In a telephone interview with the Topeka Capital-Journal, Johnson described a chaotic, frightening scene.

"People just kept running out of the doors," she said. "They were screaming and crying and yelling and telling us to run. And we just kept running.

"You could see the terror in people's eyes. We had no idea what was going on."

Bruce Wall of Concordia University in Seward, Neb., was traveling to China as part of the Washburn program. He said he was sitting with other students in the terminal's food court when he heard about eight shots, then, after a short pause, another flurry of shooting.

"Everyone in the food court dove down under their tables," he said.

The FBI said the gunman was Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, 41, a resident of Irvine, Calif., who came to the United States from Egypt 10 years ago. It said he worked as a limousine driver.

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