California man jailed after loud, panic attack at Vegas airport

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A California man was jailed in Las Vegas for 24 hours on suspicion of causing panic and delaying travel at Harry Reid International Airport on Sunday. was arrested at the airport not long ago. ticket counter, a police official said on Monday.

A loud sound of a door slamming or a trash can falling — apparently thought to be a gunshot — prompted passengers to abandon security lines at 4:30 a.m. Sunday. Las Vegas police officer Larry Hadfield said more loud noises echoed through the airport’s busy Terminal 1 as metal posts were knocked over during the chaos.

The alleged voice of Stephen Mathias Hutchison’s character was not immediately described.

“The initial sound was a door or trash can slamming,” Hadfield said. “This prompted the patrons to drop the lines, which caused the stanchions to fall, leading to a series of loud cheers.”

No serious injuries were reported by airport officials, but social media posts showed people running and, later, crowds at the terminal serving mostly domestic flights.

Dozens of commercial flights in and out of Las Vegas were canceled or delayed throughout the day, affecting thousands of people. Passengers screened by the Transportation Security Administration were required to be screened again at security checkpoints before boarding their flights.

Hutchison, 33, of Carmichael, Calif., was taken into custody at the airport on a theft charge and is being held at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas pending a court appearance, records show. Hutchison was not armed, Hadfield said.

On Saturday, Hutchison was arrested around 8:30 a.m. on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting an officer, and was released from jail without bail later that day. Hadfield said the initial police call in this case was about a possible breach of airport security.

On Monday, Hutchison refused to be taken from jail to appear before a judge. He was rescheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning, court records show. A deputy public defender temporarily appointed to represent him did not immediately return messages.

Airport spokesman Joe Rajchal said on Monday that he was not aware of any injuries in the chaos. He said that operations have returned to normal. Red Airport is one of the 10 busiest airports in the world, according to trade group Airports Council International.

“While Sunday’s incident was a false alarm, the response to any situation is unique and will be informed by verified details available in real time,” the airport said in a statement.

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