Among the many people affected by a shooting incident Friday (Nov. 1) at Los Angeles International Airport are two stars of Discovery’s reality hit “Mythbusters,” Tory Belleci and Grant Imahara, who were on their way to rural Delaware for the annual “Punkin Chunkin” special. Both of them tweeted messages and photos as the scene was unfolding.
Belecci’s most recent reports were that the people being held inside were being given water and snacks (at just after 1 p.m. PT) and that eyewitnesses were being taken from the holding area to be questioned (about 1:40 p.m. PT).
Zap2it spoke to Belleci as he was still waiting inside LAX, hoping to continue his travels.
Asked how he was doing and what happened, Belleci said, “Shaken up. I was at Gate 33, which was right around the corner from Gate 36, when all of a sudden we heard shots. It didn’t really register until everybody started running down the corridor to our gate to get away from Gate 36.
“People were going crazy. It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen — people jumping over each other, jumping over chairs, trying to take cover. We were trapped, because the gate doors were locked. It seemed like an eternity. I kept my eyes down the corridor, because, if I look down this way, maybe I have a chance.
“Then security opened up one of the gates, and we all ran out, down the stairs and onto the tarmac. We just took cover.”
Belleci did not see the gunman’s confrontation with police, and later on, he and his fellow passengers were moved again.
“Right now,” he said, “we’re just stuck in a holding space. We’re at some terminal, some section of the terminal, and they have everybody held up. We’re just waiting to see. Once they feel the airport is secure, they’re going to let us go.”
Belleci hadn’t seen Imahara, but a Discovery spokesperson said, “I talked to him. He’s doing OK.”
Regarding whether he thought this incident could be examined on “Mythbusters” in any way, Belleci said, “You know, it really makes me think about security, guns, all that. We, on the show, use a lot of guns as tools, but when you’re face-to-face with something like this, it just really changes your perspective on the whole gun-control situation.
“It still seems like a dream right now, like the worst nightmare. I’ve always questioned, what would I do if a gunman was around? You think about it, what would you do if you were in this situation? To be in that situation, it was surreal.”
The incident hasn’t made Belleci afraid of flying, saying, “Flying doesn’t bother me. It’s people with machine guns who are insane.”
Incidentally, regarding Belleci’s reference to a “machine gun,” there have been reports referring to an “assault rifle,” but that term indicates a particular, heavily regulated type of gun, that’s illegal in California. At present, there has been no report that specifically identifies the weapon involved.
Provided Belleci and Imahara arrive at their destination safe and sound, “Punkin Chunkin” — a competition in which a variety of contraptions are used to hurl pumpkins the maximum possible distance — airs Thanksgiving night (Thursday, Nov. 28), on a simulcast with sister cable net’s Science Channel and Discovery Channel.