The evacuation of hurricane refugees from the Superdome was suspended Thursday after shots were reported fired at a military helicopter and arson fires broke out outside the arena. No immediate injuries were reported.
The scene at the Superdome became increasingly chaotic, with thousands of people rushing from nearby hotels and other buildings, hoping to climb onto the buses taking evacuees from the arena, officials said. Paramedics became increasingly alarmed by the sight of people with guns.
Richard Zeuschlag, chief of the ambulance service that was handling the evacuation of sick and injured people from the Superdome, said it was suspending operations "until they gain control of the Superdome," the AP says.
Lt. Col. Pete Schneider of the Louisiana National Guard said the military, which was handling the evacuation of the able-bodied from the Superdome, had suspended operations, too, because fires set outside the arena were preventing buses from getting close enough to pick up people.