A Transportation Security Administration agent was killed Saturday morning after jumping from a hotel balcony into the atrium of Orlando International Airport, authorities said.
Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., noted in a tweet that the officer's death comes after TSA employees struggled through a partial government shutdown. The closure began on began on December 22 and lasted for 35 days.
He fell onto the atrium floor in the main terminal at about 9:30 a.m.
The man, who was in his 40s, had just clocked out of work, TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said.
The incident sent several passengers scattering, forcing the TSA to rescreen individuals at the state's busiest airport out of an abundance of caution. Our hearts are with the @TSA family during this very hard time'.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the officer's family, friends and everyone in our TSA family", the statement continued.
Images uploaded to social media show large crowds and lines gathering at the airport.
Travelers were forced to go back through security to be rescreened after the incident reportedly caused some to move through security without being checked.
In the ensuing chaos, some passengers scattered into the area beyond the security checkpoint, Koshetz said.
"We are working closely with our partners at @TSA and @MCO to restore normal airport operations". Police scuttled rumors that there were "suspicious vehicles" connected to the incident.
Trista Eaden told Spectrum News 13, a CNN affiliate, that she was waiting in line for screening when she heard a loud bang. Panic was in full effect! At this time we don't have an update on the jumper or why he jumped. I'm probably the last person that saw him. The police agency described it as an isolated incident. The person that jumped has been pronounced deceased'.
About two hours after the incident, Orlando International Airport tweeted that the security checkpoint wait time was less than 15 minutes.
Scores of inbound and outbound flights were either delayed or canceled at the airport as of early Saturday afternoon.
"Terrible situation at Orlando airport a little while ago".