Man Jailed After Noise Causes Vegas Airport Panic

Dozens of flights were canceled Sunday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 15, 2022 7:05 PM CDT

A California man jailed in Las Vegas on suspicion of causing a loud noise that sparked panic and travel delays Sunday at Harry Reid International Airport had been arrested at the airport less than 24 hours earlier for allegedly causing a disturbance near a ticket counter, a police official said Monday. The sharp sound of a door closing or a trash can toppling—apparently mistaken for gunfire—caused passengers to abandon security lines about 4:30am Sunday, the AP reports. More loud noises reverberated through the airport’s busy Terminal 1 as metal posts were knocked over in the chaos, Las Vegas Police officer Larry Hadfield said.

Stefan Mathias Hutchison's alleged role causing the sound was not immediately described. "The initial sound was a door or trash can falling," Hadfield said. "That triggered patrons to leave lines, which caused stanchions to fall, causing a succession of loud sounds." No serious injuries were reported by airport officials, but social media posts showed people running and, later, crowded in concourses of the terminal that serves most domestic flights. Dozens of commercial flights in and out of Las Vegas were canceled or delayed throughout the day, and thousands of people were affected.

Hutchison, 33, of Carmichael, California, was taken into custody at the airport on a felony burglary charge and held at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas pending a court appearance, records showed. Hutchison was not armed, Hadfield said. On Saturday, Hutchison had been arrested about 8:30am on misdemeanor misconduct and resisting an officer charges, and freed from jail without bail later that day. The initial police call in that case was about a possible airport security breach, Hadfield said. On Monday, Hutchison refused to be taken from the jail to appear before a judge. Court records showed he was rescheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning.

(More Las Vegas stories.)

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