Australian man charged after shooting inside airport window

An Australian man was charged with three weapons counts on Monday after he allegedly used a handgun inside Canberra Airport to fire multiple times into an airport window.

No one was injured in the shooting near the check-in counter on Sunday afternoon. The incident prompted officials to temporarily evacuate the airport and ground planes for more than three hours.

Ali Rachid Ammoun appeared on Monday via video link at the Australian Capital Territory Magistrates Court.

The 63-year-old New South Wales man has not applied for bail and will remain jailed until his next hearing on September 5. Mr Ammoun has yet to issue a plea.

To the best of my knowledge and what I can see from the crime scene, men let shots go through the glass in the terminal and no shots were fired at people or persons, passengers or staff.

Police said Mr Ammoun arrived at the airport in the capital around 1:20 p.m. and sat in several seats near the check-in counter. After about five minutes, police said, he fired several times from a shotgun into the window before being apprehended by federal police stationed at the airport.

“To the best of my knowledge and what I can see from the crime scene, the man allowed shots to hit the glass in the terminal and no shots were fired at the person or persons, passengers or staff,” detective director Dave Craft told reporters. .

Canberra airport chief executive Stephen Byron said the gunman was in a public area of ​​the airport.

“That’s different from the terminal’s safety zone, where passengers are screened and checked for hazardous items before they board,” Mr Byron told reporters.

After clearing the airport and checking to make sure Mr Ammoun was acting alone, authorities resumed airport operations and flights shortly after 5pm.

Mr Ammoun has been charged with opening fire on a building, illegally possessing a firearm and firing a gun near a person to raise an alarm.

Lily Thomson, a reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation who happened to be at the airport at the time, told the broadcaster she heard loud bangs and then saw people running towards her.

“I just assumed everyone was running for their flight,” she said.

She realized something was wrong when people started shouting “Run!”.

The incident made her feel scared, she said.

“It’s just that feeling of not knowing it’s pretty horrible,” she told the broadcaster. “As soon as we went out, people were on the phone with loved ones, hugging, that sort of thing.”

During the trial, Ammoun’s legal aid lawyer asked the judge to ban the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from covering the case.

The application was opposed by prosecutors and the judge rejected it, saying it was an open court and the broadcaster had the right to cover the case.

Mr Ammoun is expected to undergo a mental health assessment.

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