TSA Agent Killed In Los Angeles Airport Shooting

Suspect in custody

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Updated at 11:34 p.m EST on Nov. 1

A Transportation Security Administration employee was shot and killed Friday after a gunman opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport, officials said, prompting a partial evacuation and a temporary grounding of flights at one of the country’s busiest airports.

At a news conference Friday evening, David Bowdich, special agent in charge of FBI counterterrorism, said the suspect has been identified as 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia, a current resident of Los Angeles and former resident of Pennsville, NJ. The suspect, who was injured in a shootout, was in custody.

Late Friday night, the TSA identified the officer killed as Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39. He’s the first officer killed in the line of duty in the agency’s 12-year history. At least two other TSA employees were shot, and several other people were injured, possibly in an attempt to run away from the scene, Bowdich said.

According to the Associated Press, the suspect was wearing fatigues and carrying a bag that contained a handwritten note that said he wanted to kill TSA employees and “pigs.” Earlier in the day, Ciancia allegedly sent a sibling a text message about committing suicide, Pennsville Police Chief Allen Cummings said.

A White House official said that President Barack Obama called TSA Administrator John Pistole to express his condolences, as well as his gratitude for the men and women working at the TSA. Pistole said he would be traveling to Los Angeles on Saturday to meet with Hernandez’s family and the injured other officers.

“Together, we will get through this,” Pistole said. “Our faith will guide us and our professionalism will ensure our ability to carry out our mission.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti said at about noon local time that the airport was safe, and another airport official said incoming flights were being allowed to land, albeit at about half the airport’s usual capacity. Flights were expected to be delayed significantly throughout the rest of the day. By early afternoon, 133 flights to and from the airport were canceled and 293 flights were delayed, the LA Times reports.

“We believe this to be a static situation now, a safe one for those that are in the airport,” Garcetti said.

Three people were taken to the Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center,  Lynne McCullough, an emergency medicine physician there, told the AP.

A chaotic scene unfolded at about 9:20 a.m. PST on Friday, police and witnesses said, when a man entered Terminal 3 of the airport, pulled an assault rifle out of a bag, and started shooting while yelling angrily in English. The gunman managed to shoot his way through a security checkpoint before he was engaged by police and taken into custody.

Witnesses described a chaotic scene of people running after shots were first fired. Vernon Cardenas, a 45-year-old from West Hollywood, told the Los Angeles Times that he was headed to a flight to Philadelphia when the shooting started at about 9:30 a.m.

“Sitting down, all of a sudden, literally just out of the blue, you hear a rumble in the background and a couple of seconds later, people are running at me,” Cardenas said.

A White House official said President Barack Obama had been briefed on the incident.

“We will continue stay in touch with our federal and local partners,” the White House official said. “The LAPD is leading the response and investigation.  We urge citizens to listen to the authorities and follow directions from the first responders on site.”

Local news footage showed medical personnel setting up green and red tarps on the ground outside the airport, consistent with the protocol for triage evaluations of multiple victims. Parts of the airport were evacuated following the shooting, and all planes were temporarily grounded. Police were also sweeping the airport as a precaution.

Garcetti advised people with flights scheduled for later in the day to stay away from the airport, “not because of safety but because the investigation makes the airport a very difficult place to get to.”

Auto traffic around the airport was at a standstill Friday afternoon, but slowly resumed as the day wore on.

8 comments
ozette11
ozette11

Pistole. your overdoing it at the airport and the constant complaints and abuse by TSa has come back to haunt you. I certainly do not condone this insane shooting, but somehow TSA got into his head. Why would that be - you think. In the back of the minds of many travelers has been a urge to ‘fight back at the TSA’s abuse. “Do not touch my junk” Strip searching 80 yr. old women’ The the DEA, NSA, IRS, etc etc are not loved Bureaucracies. Now Obamacare, which was a hopeful endeavor has turned many lives upside down. Government is out of control. It does not matter if Bush , or Obama, or Regan is running the show. Once you start a government bureaucracies they will do anthing to survive, and they crave power. I am sorry for the family of the deceased TSA agent. Please do not arm the TSA-it will lead to more icidents similar to the 13 yr old shot 8 times because of a out of control-power crazy Cop.

JugglingForCure
JugglingForCure

Our prayers are with the TSA agents and their families.

T.D. Jakes says that the root of the problem of crime and violence is anger and pain within.  Society attempts to address the problem outside-in, but should be addressing it inside-out. 

supamonkey77
supamonkey77

So I'm guessing what's going to happen next is that we will be searched even before entering the Airport from now on. And I'm flying multiple times this christmas

endthedrugwar
endthedrugwar

I had no idea canadians were so interested in american politics.

In that link you site opensecrets.org as your source, but you fail to mention that the information on opensecrets.org also shows that the total from the NRA and all other firearm lobbying groups doesn't even break into the top 50 U.S. political campaign contributors list. For the last 20+ years the NRA has never been ranked any higher than 57th place, and has been as low as 74th place, on the top contributors list:

http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/totals.php?cycle=2012&ind=Q13

endthedrugwar
endthedrugwar

So in the U.S., pro-gun groups are literally outspent by each of the entire top 50 special interest groups, such as the Defense Industry (ranked #50 at $5 million in contributions), the Oil and Gas industry (ranked #9 with $20.5 million), Investment Bankers/Stock Brokers (ranked #4 with $40.1 million), and Lawyers and Law Firms (ranked #1 with $55.6 million):

http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/mems.php?party=A&cycle=2012

So for instance, lawyers and law firms, who despite contributing $55.6 million during the last U.S. election cycle, still aren't able to get the U.S. congress to pass all the laws the lawyers want (such as repealing the U.S. law protecting U.S. firearm manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits), and yet you apparently believe the mere $4.2 million the NRA and other gun groups donated enables them to completely control the U.S. congress and prevent passage of any gun laws of any kind. If your theory were true that all it takes is money, then every single U.S. special interest group ranked higher than the gun lobby should also be able to make the U.S. congress not pass any laws in their respective fields of interest either. But that isn't what happens.

U.S. congress members doesn't pass gun laws because of contributions from gun groups, they don't because they know they would get voted out if they did.

endthedrugwar
endthedrugwar

And you apparently didn't notice that this shooting took place in California, where strict firearm laws like background checks and a 10 day waiting period are already required for all firearm purchases, and where the rifle this criminal used was already illegal. California gun laws are in some ways even more stringent than in Canada. Canada does require waiting periods on some firearms, but with others a canadian can legally buy a rifle that would not only be illegal in California, but a canadian can also buy it without the 10 day waiting period required in California.

Here a canadian buys such a rifle at a gas station in Pembroke, Ontario (in the beginning of the video they pretend they are in the U.S. Jump to 3:14 in the video for the details):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyeE6Yx9lYI

And by the way, since Canada's firearm murder rate is over 3.5 times that of Australia's firearm murder rate, I assume you are lobbying your parliament in Ottawa to adopt the same gun ban laws that Australia has. Or is there some Canadian NRA equivalent that also has the apparently magical power to prevent the parliament from passing gun laws in Canada, too?

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