For the first time in the Transportation Security Administration's 12-year history, one of the agency's on-duty agents has been killed.
Gerardo I. Hernandez was only doing his job at Los Angeles International Airport Friday morning, when a man with an apparent abhorrence for the TSA opened fire. The 39-year-old TSA agent was fatally shot and several others were wounded.
The FBI identified the alleged gunman as 23-year-old Paul Ciancia, who has a known address in Pennsville, N.J., some 15 miles outside of Wilmington, Del. According to law enforcement officials, Ciancia was apprehended on the scene after suffering a non-lethal gunshot wound. The suspect is being treated in a local hospital.
According to the Associated Press, Cianca had sent a suicidal text to his brother prior to the shooting. Reports indicate that arresting officers found literature on Cianca condemning the U.S. government and TSA.
Ciancia reportedly entered LAX wearing fatigues, and had on him an assault rifle and a handwritten note that said he "wanted to kill TSA and pigs."
The TSA was created 12 years ago, following the attacks on September 11, 2001, to strengthen the security of America's transportation systems. officer has been killed in the line of duty in the agency's 12 year history. According to the spokesperson, the TSA officer was a "behavior detection officer" who was charged with spotting suspicious behavior in the airport.
Understandably, TSA agents at LAX and colleagues across the U.S. are devastated by Hernandez's death. This tragedy brings to light the seriousness of the work TSA agents are doing to keep us safe at our airports. Maybe we should all thank the agents we meet at the TSA checkpoints, instead of complaining about the process.