Man Who Caused Chaos at Atlanta Airport When Gun Went off in Bag Turns Himself in: Police

A man accused of accidentally firing a gun in his bag at the Atlanta airport turned himself in on Tuesday, police said.

Kenny Wells was waiting in line at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport's security checkpoint on November 20 when a Transportation Security Administration worker pulled Wells' bag aside for an extra search after seeing a "prohibited item" in the X-ray.

According to WSBTV, the TSA agent told Wells not to touch the bag. However, during the search, Wells lunged for the bag to grab a gun out of it, causing the gun to go off.

This sent the other travelers into a panic, with thousands of people running from the airport. There were several false reports of an active shooter circulating around social media.

After the accidental shot, Wells fled with the gun, then dumped it into a trashcan, where authorities found it a few days later. Wells was able to blend with the crowd and leave the airport.

Multiple law enforcement agencies had been searching for Wells when the 42-year-old turned himself in at Clayton County Jail.

The Associated Press reported he is charged with carrying a weapon or long gun at a commercial service airport, reckless conduct, discharging of firearms on property of another and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Wells has previously served prison time on weapons charges. He is currently being held in jail without bond. Police said they are still investigating the incident.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Kenny Wells, Atlanta
Kenny Wells, who is accused of accidentally firing a gun in his bag at the Atlanta airport on November 20, turned himself in, police said on November 30. Here, in this undated booking photo provided by the Atlanta Police Department, is suspect Kenny Wells. File/Atlanta Police Department via AP,

No one was shot when the gun went off, but the discharge caused a frenzy on social media as alarmed travelers posted videos to Twitter and other sites showing and describing moments of chaos and confusion at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, one of the world's busiest airports.

Authorities said three people suffered minor injuries, including one person who fell in the airport's atrium area away from the checkpoint, and two complaining of shortness of breath.

Social media users reported there were long lines afterward and missed flights for some. The incident came ahead of the peak Thanksgiving holiday travel season as people are still coping with the concerns of safely traveling during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the FAA ordered a temporary ground stop, airport officials said operations never ceased and the airport did not close. They said the airport returned to normal operations in under two hours.

Atlanta International Airport
A man accused of accidentally firing a gun in his bag at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, causing temporary chaos and prompting a temporary ground stop on flights, has turned himself in, police said November 30. Here, in this Friday, May 27, 2016, file photo taken from video, travelers pass through the main security gate at the Atlanta airport. Jeff Martin, File/AP Photo