Newark, NJ – A man who made his way into a secure hallway at Newark Liberty International Airport on Sunday, prompting police to evacuate part of an airport terminal, has been taken for a psychiatric evaluation, police said.
Port Authority Police Department spokesman Joe Pentangelo said the man entered a secured area of Terminal C around 7 p.m. by entering a hallway through an exit door.
The man, whose name was not immediately released, had a ticket for a flight at the airport, but made his way through an exit instead of passing through a security checkpoint, Pentangelo said.
Passenger Richard Krezwick said he was walking in the terminal when he heard yelling behind him and saw several Transportation Security Administration officers chasing a man. He said that as the man passed, he tossed his briefcase in front of him, and “tripped him up.”
Krezwick said the man got down on the ground when a Customs and Border Protection agent pointed a gun at him.
Joe Manzelli, who was waiting to pick up his wife near a security checkpoint at the airport, said he heard someone yelling, “Stop!” and then saw a man running into the terminal.
He said he could see several bags dropped in the exit and then a group of police officers racing into the terminal.
About five minutes later, authorities began to evacuate the area, he said.
Manzelli said he saw the man led back to the screening area, where he was “just rambling about being afraid of being shot and money.”
Pentangelo said the man appeared to not understand why he was being detained and “seemed agitated” when officers took him into custody.
The encounter caused a portion of the airport to be evacuated while officers with police dogs conducted a security sweep. Passengers were allowed back inside around 9:30 p.m.