TSA Administrator John Pistole has identified the Transportation Security Administration employee killed this morning at Los Angeles International Airport terminal 3 by a lone gunman.
The dead TSA officer is Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39, Pistole told USAToday. Pistole also stated:
"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."
Officer Hernandez was described as a behavior-detection officer, trained to spot suspicious activity and identify potential terrorists, said TSA Administrator Pistole.
The FBI also identified the shooter as Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, of Los Angeles according to the report. Police have stated Ciancia fired a series of shots from an assault rifle in LAX Terminal 3 at 9:20 a.m. The suspect was shot as were a half-dozen other people as the mayhem sent hundreds of air travelers scurrying for cover and brought chaos to the travel plans of thousands more.
From an online story at CNN, investigators have discovered information of "anti-federal government sentiment" and "anger at the TSA specifically" on the suspect, according to a federal law enforcement official.
Airport officials, quoted in an AJC story, are reporting that 746 flights nationwide were in fact affected by the shooting spree, with 46 flights being diverted and others either held at LAX or at the originating airports.
Hernandez is the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty in the 12-year history of the agency, created after 9/11. Another victim was listed in critical condition, and at least two of the injured were TSA employees.
The WrapNewsInc in Hollywood has been reporting that the TSA Officer slain at LAX Shooting was the husband of Ana Machuca, a manager of worldwide marketing budgets at Warner Bros.
Also stated in the online article from the Wrap:
"Hernandez was the first TSA officer to be killed in the line of duty since the administration was formed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. An individual familiar with the situation said that Machuca and Hernandez had small children together."
The CSMonitor states:
"... the shooter – identified only as a US citizen with an airline ticket – had parked his car at the airport, ran up an escalator into Terminal 3, pulled an assault-type rifle from a bag, and began firing as he approached the terminal area where passengers must first show their tickets and government-issued identification before having their luggage and themselves checked by TSA. Witnesses say they heard eight to 10 shots."
Seven people were injured, according to the report, and six of those were taken to hospitals. Armed law enforcement personnel then tracked the shooter through the terminal, and there was an exchange of gunfire near a Burger King restaurant. The shooter was shot and taken into custody.
Officer Hernandez was described as a husband and father of two who worked at the airport for five years, a friend of the victim told NBC4. Kevin Maxwell said:
“It’s devastating because he was such a great guy. All he talked about was his family.”