LAX LATEST: LA to honor fallen TSA officer

Saturday - 11/2/2013, 11:20am EDT

CHRISTOPHER WEBER
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A suspected gunman was in custody following a shooting at Los Angeles airport that killed a TSA officer and wounded two others. This is what AP reporters on the scene Friday are learning about the events unfolding:

HONORS FOR SLAIN OFFICER

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has asked that flags on city buildings be flown at half-staff and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has asked officers to wear black bands on their badges to honor the TSA officer who was killed.

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SLAIN OFFICER IDENTIFIED

The Transportation Security Administration has identified the officer killed at LAX as Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39. He's the first officer killed in the line of duty in the agency's 12-year history.

No other details were released about Hernandez or the two other TSA officers who were wounded.

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TSA ADMINISTRATOR'S MESSAGE

In an email to TSA employees Friday evening, TSA Administrator John Pistole said he would be traveling to Los Angeles on Saturday to meet with the "family of our fallen comrade" and the injured employees who are recovering from their wounds. He'll also spend time with the TSA workforce at LAX.

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

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OBAMA CALLS WITH CONDOLENCES

President Barack Obama called Pistole to express his condolences to the families and friends of the TSA officer who was killed and the two others who were wounded.

Obama said he is grateful for all the brave TSA personnel who protect the nation's transportation systems, the White House said in a statement. Obama also spoke with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to express his gratitude for those who responded to the shooting.

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NOTE CONTAINED HATE FOR TSA

A law enforcement official says the handwritten note in the suspected gunman's bag refers to how he believed his constitutional rights were being violated by TSA searches and he's a "pissed-off patriot" upset at former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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DETAILS ON INJURIES

Los Angeles Fire Department Battalion Chief Armando Hogan says five people were taken to hospitals after the shooting: the gunman, the TSA officer who died, two other people who were shot, and one person with a broken ankle. A sixth person was treated at the scene for ringing in the ears from gunfire.

The TSA said both surviving shooting victims are TSA officers.

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SHOOTER HAD MORE AMMO

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says the airport shooter was carrying a lot of additional ammunition. "There were more than 100 more rounds," he said.

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PASSENGERS ON WAY BACK IN

As two terminals reopened, hundreds of passengers pulled rolling suitcases across a road outside the facilities, standing shoulder-to-shoulder across all four lanes. Motorcycle police with megaphones followed slowly behind, trying to herd them onto the sidewalk.

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HUNDREDS OF FLIGHTS AFFECTED

Airport officials say 746 flights nationwide were affected by the incident. Some 46 were diverted, and others were held at LAX or at the originating airport. Terminal 3, where the shooting occurred, remains closed as the forensics investigation continues.

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AIRPORT SLOWLY REOPENING

Employees are being let back into two closed terminals, and taxis and buses are again running on a loop through the airport. In addition, the FAA has dropped its "ground stop" order, meaning airliners in other cities are allowed to resume flying to LAX. Nearly 200 flights were cancelled and others were diverted.

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MORE ON VICTIMS

One of the victims taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center arrived without signs of life, says trauma surgeon David Plurad. Doctors worked for over an hour to try to revive the man, but were unsuccessful. He died from gunshot wounds to his chest and abdomen. Another man was shot in the shoulder and is expected to survive.

Another person was released from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. The hospitals did not identify the patients, citing privacy issues.

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SHOOTER'S FATHER WAS CONCERNED

A New Jersey police chief says the suspect had apparently made references to suicide. Pennsville Chief Allen Cummings says Paul Ciancia's father had called him Friday saying another of his children had received a text message from the suspect "in reference to him taking his own life." Cummings says the elder Ciancia, also named Paul, asked him for help locating his son.