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Man shot by police on Vegas airport tarmac didn’t work there

LAS VEGAS >> Las Vegas police shot an intruder who fought with officers before dawn today on the tarmac outside a terminal at McCarran International Airport, including an officer who was knocked unconscious, authorities said.

The wounded intruder and the injured officer were hospitalized after the struggle at about 4 a.m. in a restricted baggage-handling area outside the boarding gates of the main terminal serving domestic airlines, police Capt. Nichole Splinter said.

The names of the wounded man and the officers were not immediately made public. The injured officer was treated and released, said Officer Aden OcampoGomez, a police department spokesman.

It was not immediately clear if the intruder was a passenger, but airport spokesman Chris Jones said he did not work for the airport or any of its concessionaires.

Police encountered the man outside Terminal 1 about 20 minutes after officers investigated an alarm indicating that someone went through a security door at a separate passenger building, Terminal 3, Splinter said. Officers did not find anyone near Terminal 3 but then located the man near Terminal 1, she said.

The man attacked the officers while he was being escorted in custody to a public area of the airport, Splinter said in video statement provided by police.

One officer was knocked unconscious, and one officer tried using a less-than-lethal method to subdue the man before the third officer fired twice, Splinter said. Police did not immediately disclose whether the officer used physical means, a stun gun, baton or other device before shots were fired.

Splinter said the wounded man underwent surgery at the hospital.

Cellphone video taken by person who was apparently in Terminal 1, aired by KVVU-TV in Las Vegas, shows three police officers around a man sitting handcuffed on the well-lit tarmac. It does not show a struggle or shooting.

OcampoGomez said police believe the man who was apprehended was the same person who entered the secure area at Terminal 3. It did not appear he had a weapon, and it was not immediately clear if he was a traveler, OcampoGomez said.

The officers were equipped with body-worn cameras. The details of the struggle will be made public along with the names of the officers and the wounded man in coming days, OcampoGomez said.

Airport operations and flights were not affected, Jones said.

Terminal 3 primarily serves international flights and would have been quiet at the time, Jones said.

A paved causeway over a sunken airport access road connects the terminals, serving as a taxiway and connector for baggage carts and airport vehicles. The route passes by the Federal Aviation Administration’s airport traffic control tower.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said the investigation was being handled by local authorities.

Police did not know how the man got between the two buildings, OcampoGomez said.

McCarran is one of the 10 busiest airports in the U.S., based on passenger count. It handled just under 50 million passengers in 2018.

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