JFK Terminals Evacuated Over Reports of Shots Fired

iStock/ThinkstockReports of Shots Fired at JFK Prove False

(NEW YORK) — JFK International Airport in New York City has reopened two terminals that were evacuated after a false alarm of shots fired caused a panic among passengers.

At about 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, Port Authority Police received a call of shots fired at the airport's departures area in Terminal 8, prompting security to clear the area.

"The local security guards started yelling active shooter and everybody started running towards into the de-boarding area," said Brandon Webb, a traveler who was in the airport at the time.

"They started saying shots fired, active shooter," Webb told ABC News. "It was just complete chaos at this point. People crying, nobody seemed to know what was going on. The police seemed calm but it seemed like they didn't know what to do."

Shortly after midnight, the New York Police Department confirmed that the terminals had been cleared and determined that no shots had been fired. It was unclear what caused the initial response.

"There are no injuries. There are no arrests, there is no confirmation of shots fired," the Port Authority said in a statement. "But to be cautious, the terminal is being evacuated. Port Authority police are evacuating the terminal at this time."

Less than an hour later, yet another call of shots fired prompted the closure of Terminal 1 at JFK, in addition to a nearby highway, the Van Wyck Expressway.

"Preliminary investigation does not indicate shots were fired at JFK," the Port Authority said in a follow-up statement. "There are no injuries. At this time, no gun shells or other evidence of shots fired has been found. The terminal was evacuated out of an abundance of caution."

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Charlottesville mayor to issue statement on Robert E. Lee statue

Charlottesville mayor to issue statement on Robert E. Lee statueMark Wilson/Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer will issue a statement Friday afternoon after canceling a news conference at which he was expected to "make a major announcement" regarding the local statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and the legacy of the woman killed during a protest sparked by the city's plans to remove the statue.

His news conference had been scheduled for noon on Friday, but the mayor tweeted Friday morning that "we are canceling today’s press conference and instead issuing a statement in the afternoon."

FYI all: we are canceling today’s press conference and instead issuing a statement in the afternoon. Stay tuned.

— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 18, 2017

FYI, the reason for the change is we decided a statement rather than a press event was the best medium for the ideas I want to convey today.

— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 18, 2017

The statement comes six days after a Unite the Right rally sparked by Charlottesville's plan to remove the Lee statue from a local park turned deadly.

The rally was attended by neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members. They were met with hundreds of counterprotesters, which led to street brawls and violent clashes.

A driver plowed into counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring several others. The suspected driver is in custody, facing charges including second-degree murder.

Despite the "painful" event, "we’re not going to let them define us,” Signer told ABC News earlier this week of the agitators.

"They’re not going to tell our story," he said. "We’re going to tell our story. And outsiders -- their time has come and gone. This city is back on their feet, and we’re going to be better than ever despite this."

Signer compared his hopes for Charlottesville's recovery to the aftermath of the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting in June 2015 that killed nine people. The gunman in that attack said he wanted to start a race war, but the tragedy instead united the city.

"There’s a memorial right now in front of Charlottesville City Hall that’s flowers and a heart that talks about the love that we have here. Those are the images that are going to replace these horrific ones from this weekend. That’s the work that we have as a country," Signer said.

"That’s what happened in Charleston. There were those horrible images of those people bloodied and killed and weeping from the church. But they were replaced quickly, steadily, by the work that started to happen. By people who said, 'You’re not going to tell our story for us. We’re going to tell our story.'

"And that’s what’s happening in this community. That’s my work as the mayor here -- is not to allow these hateful people who just don’t get this country to define us," he said. "And they’re not going to define us."

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