"We just hit the deck. Everybody in the line hit the floor and shots just continued," said Xavier Savant, who was waiting in the security line where the shooting took place. He described it as a "Bam! Bam! Bam!" burst of gunfire.
Savant said people bolted through the metal detectors and ran into the terminal.
"My whole thing was to get away from him," said Savant, an advertising creative director who was heading to New York with his family for a weekend trip.
Just a few weeks ago, airport police and the Los Angeles Police Department trained jointly for a similar shooting scenario, according to Gannon, who said officers told him the drill was critical in preparing them for the real thing.
While Terminal 3 remained closed, much of the rest of the airport continued operating, although with some disruptions. Some LAX-bound flights that were already in the air were diverted to other airports.
The ripple effect across the country delayed 76,000 travelers, LAX officials said. Hundreds of stranded passengers streamed into nearby hotels, rolling bags behind them down roads absent of car traffic.
The officer who was killed was one of the behavioral detection officers who are stationed throughout the airport, looking for suspicious behavior, said J. David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees.
Initially, Cox said at least three other TSA officers were wounded. Their conditions were not disclosed. Later in the day, the TSA said two other officers were wounded.
The Los Angeles Fire Department revised its total number of victims taken to the hospital from six to five, saying one had been double counted. Those numbers included the gunman, the slain TSA officer and one person who broke their ankle.
Ben Rosen was sitting at the Starbucks eating oatmeal when he heard gunfire erupt and saw people running in all directions or crouching. He grabbed his phone and tried to lie as flat on the ground as he could.
Police showed up with guns drawn, shouting, "This is not a drill! Hands up!"
People put their hands up and then were led out of the terminal to the adjacent international terminal, Rosen said. As they were led out, they saw broken glass from a window that looked as if it had been shot out. Rosen left his bag behind.
It was not the first shooting at LAX. On July 4, 2002, a limousine driver opened fire at the airport's El Al ticket counter, killing an airline employee and a person who was dropping off a friend at the terminal. Police killed the man, later identified as Hesham Mohamed Hadayet.