On Friday night, authorities identified the TSA agent killed by a gunman at Los Angeles International Airport early that morning.
Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39, of Porter Ranch, Calif., was a husband and father of two children who had worked at LAX for five years, reports KNBC. According to a friend who spoke with the new station, Hernandez was a family man who was “very proud” of his son and “spoke profoundly” of his daughter. And his wife is a manager of worldwide marketing at Warner Bros., reports The Wrap.
“It’s devastating because he was such a great guy. All he talked about was his family,” said Kevin Maxwell. He worked with Hernandez in TSA’s logistics department until he resigned from the role last year to take care of his grandmother.
Hernandez and two other TSA workers were wounded on Friday when Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, opened fire inside LAX on Friday morning. Dr. David Plurad at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center told NBC News that Hernandez was one of two shooting victims who was taken to the hospital. Dr. Plurad said he was killed by a round that broke into fragments inside his torso leading to massive bleeding as well as chest and abdominal injuries . “We made every effort to stop the bleeding and get the heart to beat on his own,'” Dr. Plurad said. He added that the victim had no pulse when he arrived and that surgeons worked for over an hour to revive him.
In a letter to TSA obtained by KNBC, TSA Administrator John Pistol expressed his shock over the incident.
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“No words can explain the horror that we experienced today when a shooter took the life of a member of our family and injured two TSA officers at Los Angeles International Airport,” TSA Administrator John Pistole said in a letter to his agency obtained by NBC4. “Sadly, today marks the first incident where a TSA officer was killed in the line of duty. We can take some comfort knowing that the two injured officers are recovering from their wounds.”
Ciancia was taken into custody on Friday after being shot in the chest during a shootout with authorities in the terminal. And KNBC reports he was allegedly armed with several hundred rounds of ammunition. “There were more than 100 more rounds that could've literally killed everybody in that terminal today," Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a news conference on Friday afternoon.
Numerous other injuries were reported in the terminal, many caused by people running away from the chaotic shooting scene. Flags at all government-owned buildings are being flown at half mast in memory of Hernandez, reports The Daily Mail. LAPD officers are also being mandated to the wear black mourning bands on their police badges to honor the fallen TSA agent.