Ft. Lauderdale airport shooting coincides with Memphis International Airport security scare

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Tense moments at the Fort Lauderdale airport this afternoon hit close to home for one former Memphian now living in Florida.

Olivia Jones had just said goodbye to her daughter, a university of Memphis student, but was waiting at the airport to make sure her daughter's flight didn't get cancelled due to the snow.

That's when she said the mass shooting happened.

"I got a phone call from a friend saying 'Are you at the Fort Lauderdale airport?' I said, 'Yes I am.' She said, 'Olivia, there's been a shooting.'"

Jones said the next few moments were a blur.

She went to hide in a bathroom and called her daughter who had just boarded the plane.

“I said they're saying the shooter is here but I don’t know I just hear sirens. She hung up with me. I told her I was hiding in a safe place,” Jones said.

On the same plane, Roy Smith and fiancé Jasmine Quander waited anxiously.

“As we were pulling off, ambulances were rushing around and a lot of flashing lights so we didn’t know what was going on until we got here in Memphis," Smith said.

When they all landed at Memphis International, there was still more confusion.

Airport officials said TSA found a suspicious item at security checkpoint B.

“Due to protocol they cleared the area, closed the checkpoint and thoroughly inspected the item,” said Glen Thomas, public information officer for Memphis International Airport.

“When we got off the plane they stopped all movement so we were stuck in the terminal for about an hour,” Smith said.

Airport officials wouldn’t say what the item was. They said TSA officers inspected it and deemed it safe.

The airport was reopened about 30 minutes later, Thomas said.

“I feel safe now that I’m off it and everything,” traveler Larrica Alexander said.

"Even if it's in a controlled area, it's just kind of scary and makes you have to watch your surroundings more," Quander said.

Jones' daughter landed safely in Memphis and was resting at home Friday night.