Police: TSA employee jumped to his death at Orlando airport

WPTV Orlando Airport atrium file photo
Posted at 11:51 AM, Feb 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-02 18:41:37-05

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Security checkpoints at Florida's busiest airport were brought to a temporary halt on Saturday when some passengers rushed past a checkpoint after a TSA officer fatally jumped from a hotel balcony inside the airport.

The Orlando Police Department said preliminary information indicates the male Transportation Security Administration officer in his 40s died from an apparent suicide. The police agency described it as an isolated incident.

"Our hearts are with the TSA family during this very difficult time," the Orlando Police Department tweeted.

A spokeswoman for Orlando International Airport told television station WKMG that passengers on two shuttles leading to airport gates were returned for a second examination in "an abundance of caution" after some passengers got through the checkpoints without being screened properly.

The passengers rushed past the checkpoints when the TSA officer jumped from the hotel located inside the airport into the atrium where passengers wait to get through security.

The officer was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital, according to the police.

The standstill and rescreening caused major delays for passengers.

"We ask that you have patience with airport personnel as they work through this tragic incident," the Orlando Police Department tweeted.

Airport spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell said the rest of the airport was operating normally.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour toll-free hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. You can reach them around the clock at 1-800-273-8255.

Residents of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast can dial 211 to speak to someone in times of crisis.