CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago area man who was at Los Angeles International Airport at the time of the shooting spree on Friday survived another high-profile tragedy earlier this year — the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Alfred Scaletta, of Hawthorne Woods, was not injured in either attack, and was counting his blessings after flying back home on Monday. He and his wife had flown to Los Angeles to visit their daughter for her 20th birthday.
“All of a sudden, we’re looking at the airport terminal, and people are just running out of the airport. They’re just sprinting, and we’re like, ‘what’s going on here?’” he said.
He and his wife had just landed at LAX on Friday morning, and were on their way to baggage claim at Terminal 3, when a gunman started firing an assault rifle at a security checkpoint, then ran toward the gates, before he was chased down and shot by police.
“Police came instantaneously. Two police cars came, and then some of them had some large rifles, and they were running in there,” Scaletta said. “And my wife and I are standing there saying, ‘We’d better run across the street.’”
That’s exactly what they did, and they hid behind a concrete barrier outside the airport.
“One of the police officers came over with a large gun, and basically escorted about 100 of us back in to the international terminal, which was next to Terminal 3,” Scaletta said.
They waited for seven hours before police let them go. Even then, he and his wife walked two miles to get to their rental car.
This wasn’t the only major tragedy he’s come face-to-face with this year. He ran in the Boston Marathon, and finished about 30 minutes before two bombs went off, killing three people, and wounding more than 250 others.
“That’s pretty scary to think about it,” he said. “I’m very thankful, very lucky, and very appreciative of what happened; and also feel really good about the law enforcement, the people that are protecting us.”
A Lake Forest man who was wounded during the shooting rampage was scheduled to undergo more surgery this week, as he recovers from a gunshot wound to the leg. Brian Ludmer, 29, was in fair condition at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on Monday. He’ll need surgery to repair a fractured leg, followed by extensive physical therapy.
The suspected gunman, 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia, was still in critical condition, and unconscious at UCLA.
Ciancia was shot four times, including once in the head, after allegedly shooting seven people at LAX on Friday – including a TSA agent who died. Two other TSA agents who were wounded have since gone home from the hospital.
Scaletta said when he went through security Monday morning at LAX for the flight home to Chicago, TSA lines were well-staffed with agents and police.
His wife asked them if they knew the agent who died. Some did, others said they were supposed to be on that shift.