LAX Ceremony Honors Slain TSA Officer

Gerardo Hernandez, a husband and father of two, is the first TSA officer to be killed in the line of duty since the agency was formed after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks

A U.S. flag arrived at Los Angeles International Airport aboard a flight from Texas Wednesday as part of a ceremony to honor a Transportation Security Administration officer killed when a gunman opened fire inside an airport terminal.

Gerardo Hernandez is the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty. He was shot at what investigators called point-blank range Friday -- the first victim in a shooting rampage that authorities said targeted employees of the agency at LAX.

Honor guards from the TSA and other agencies gathered at LAX Wednesday on the runway to honor Hernandez. The honor flag arrived aboard an American Airlines plane from Austin, Texas.

The Los Angeles Fire Department conducted a water cannon salute for the plane as it rolled toward its gate. A motorcade made two laps around the upper level road at LAX as a line of Hernandez's TSA colleagues stood outside the terminals with bagpipers nearby.

Hernandez, 39, of Porter Ranch, died at a hospital Friday about two hours after he was shot by a lone gunman. The husband and father of two children was a week away from his 40th birthday.

The gunman went up an escalator, turned back to see Hernandez move and returned to shoot him again, according to surveillance video reviewed by investigators. He allegedly opened fire on two other uniformed TSA officers and a Calabasas teacher before a confrontation with airport police in Terminal 3.

The 23-year-old suspect remains hospitalized with gunshot wounds, according to authorities. The suspected gunman, Paul Anthony Ciancia faces charges of murder of a federal officer and committing violence at an international airport. The charges could qualify him for the death penalty.

Contact Us