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Search at New York airport finds no signs of gunfire

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Airline passengers were evacuated from JFK Airport on Sunday night after reports of shots fired inside the airport. (Photo: @archcomix)

Two passenger terminals at John F. Kennedy International (JFK) Airport in New York were evacuated on Sunday night, following reports of shots being fired inside Terminal 8.

Early on Monday, police said that a preliminary investigation showed there were no indications that shots were fired.

"At this time, no firearm, rounds or shell casings or other evidence of shots fired has been found. To be cautious, the terminal was evacuated. Travelers should contact their carriers. There is substantial PAPD and NYPD presence at JFK and LGA. Investigation continues," Port Authority Police spokesman Joe Pentangelo said.

He added that police received a call of shots fired at Terminal 8 departures at about 9:30 pm.

"At about 10:15, Terminal 1 at JFK was closed after receipt of additional calls of shots fired. The Van Wyck Expressway has been closed off in the vicinity of (the airport)," Pentangelo said.

A New York law enforcement official said police gave the all-clear at JFK Airport after carrying out a search operation.  

All terminals had been "searched & cleared,” New York Police Department Special Operations Division Chief Harry Wedin said.

"All affected terminals will resume operations shortly. No shots were fired," he tweeted.

Earlier, Demetrius Pipkin, a passenger, was in Terminal 8 when the shots were reported.He said, "We were previously told to get on the floor and take cover behind any and everything we could find."

He called the area a "madhouse" with passengers running all over without knowing where to go.

"When we finally were able to find exits it led to the runway, which is not necessarily the safest place either," Pipkin said.

Photos posted on social media showed Terminal 8 being evacuated.

Airport authorities said in an earlier statement that there was “no actual confirmation” of shots fired inside the airport and that Terminal 8 was evacuated as a precaution.

Several passengers tweeted that their flights were being diverted from the airport.

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