Coverage of a fatal shooting at Los Angeles International Airport

TSA Officer Died Within 2 to 5 Minutes of Gunshot: Coroner

Details come amid speculation regarding a delayed medical response during the active-shooter situation at Los Angeles International Airport

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A newly released autopsy report for Officer Gerardo Hernandez states he died within two to five minutes of being shot. The report comes in the wake of reports and allegations that he would have survived if he did not have to wait 33 minutes to receive medical care. Patrick Healy reports from Boyle Heights for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013.

    The Los Angeles County coroner announced Wednesday that the Transportation Security Officer shot and killed Nov. 1 at Los Angeles International Airport died within two to five minutes after being shot.

    The report also indicated TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez died of multiple gunshot wounds. A preliminary autopsy released the day of the shooting rampage concluded the same cause of death.

    More: Timeline | TSA Agents Across U.S. Hold Moment of Silence | Full Coverage

    More information is expected when the full report is released this week.

    Coincidentally, the details come amid speculation that a more timely response would have saved Hernandez's life. The head of the TSA union said last week that a 30-minute delay of medical assistance was "absolutely unacceptable."

    The coroner's report is part of standard procedure and not a response to questions raised after an AP report that indicated Hernandez did not receive aid until 33 minutes after the shooting.

    Coroner's chief investigator Ed Winter told NBC4 Wednesday that because of the nature of one of the gunshot wounds, Hernandez likely would have died within one minute of being shot, but the information released by the coroner Wednesday afternoon indicated he died in two to five minutes.

    "Autopsy results of TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez...serve as a reminder that in the aftermath of his tragic death, it is important to refrain from drawing conclusions until all facts are known," an LAX spokesperson said in a statement.

    Photos: Inside the LAX Mayhem

    Hernandez was shot and killed Nov. 1 in a shooting rampage that authorities said targeted TSA employees. The 39-year-old father of two children was working at a lower level passenger check-in area when a man armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire at point-blank range.

    The gunman began walking away, but returned after he noticed Hernandez was still moving, according to witness accounts provided to federal investigators. Paul Anthony Ciancia then continued to fire rounds inside Terminal 3 before he was shot and wounded in a confrontation with Los Angeles Airport Police, according to investigators.

    Two law enforcement officials cited in Associated Press reports said paramedics waited 150 yards away as Hernandez was bleeding because police had not declared the terminal safe to enter. No officers rendered first aid on scene, according to surveillance video reviewed by the officials.

    Airport police eventually put Hernandez in a wheelchair and ran him to an ambulance, where he received aid about 30 minutes after the shooting, according to officials cited in the AP report.

    "Some of the reporting on this incident was highly irresponsible," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said in a statement Wednesday after the coroner's report was released. "All the facts indicate that any action taken by responding officers or medical personnel would not have saved Officer Hernandez’ life. What concerns me most about this is that it brought needless trauma to the grieving family members of Officer Hernandez."

    Doctors at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center said Hernandez displayed no signs of life when he arrived.

    Officials with Los Angeles World Airports released a statement Thursday: "Numerous investigations and inquiries into the incident and response are underway.  An After Action Workgroup is rigorously analyzing all aspects of the multidiscipline response.  The findings of that Workgroup will provide the best perspective from which to draw conclusions, make recommendations, or take other corrective action.

    "Once the Workgroup has completed its report, its key findings will be released to the extent permissible under State and Federal law."

    A second security officer and a teacher from Calabasas were also struck by gunfire in the rampage, and have been released from the hospital.

    Ciancia, 23, was released Tuesday from UCLA Medical Center and into the custody of the United States Marshals Service, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California. A court date for Ciancia had not yet been scheduled by Tuesday morning.

    He had been hospitalized in critical condition and under police surveillance since Nov. 1, when he allegedly entered the nation’s third-busiest airport armed with a Smith & Wesson M&P-15 semi-automatic rifle and up to 100 rounds of ammo, according to a federal complaint.
     

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