Authorities say machete wielding man at Louis Armstrong airport had explosives

Authorities say machete wielding man at Louis Armstrong airport had explosives

KENNER, LA (WVUE) - The 63-year-old man who was shot by a Jefferson Parish deputy at Louis Armstrong International Airport Friday night, has died. Authorities say Richard White attempted to slash TSA agents with a machete, while carrying homemade bombs, before he was shot.

TSA agent Carol Richel is thankful she's alive. "God was with us, God was with us through the whole thing because it sure could have been much worse," Richel said.

Richel says Richard White sprayed two TSA agents with wasp spray in the security line of Concourse B Friday night before rushing at her with a machete. Richel explains, "As I went around the corner the officer was there and like I said, I really thought he hit me with the machete he was that close."

JPSO Deputy Heather Silve opened fire, hitting White three times. Panicked passengers and airport employees went running.

Witness Ryan Hahn says, "We all saw people running past the store that I work at. We all ducked down until the shooting stopped."

The airport came to a standstill. That's when authorities discovered a bag White had brought with him. It contained explosives, six molotov cocktails, a barbecue lighter and a plastic letter opener that authorities say looked like a shank.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand explains, "We also found a powder residue near where he fell with a fuse stem on the ground and we believe that's a crushed up smoke bomb."

Inside his car, parked on the upper ramp of the airport, a bomb squad found three tanks of flammable gases. The sheriff says White is a former cab driver who recently got his chauffeurs license. "We don't know that there was any connection between him and anybody at the airport at the present time," Normand said.

When White was shot, TSA agent Carol Richel suffered a graze wound to the arm. Showing off her wounded arm Saturday, Richel says, "It's bandaged but it's a through and through hole."

Some other passengers suffered minor injuries, but no other major ones, which Sheriff Normand says, is a miracle.

Richard White was a Jehovah's Witness who refused some of the medical treatment offered to him at the hospital, according to Sheriff Normand. The sheriff says White also had some type of mental illness. He died at 4:02 p.m. Saturday.

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