A TSA worker killed by a gunman at Los Angeles International Airport Friday was a husband and father of two who worked at the airport for five years, a friend of the victim told NBC4.
“It’s devastating because he was such a great guy. All he talked about was his family,” friend Kevin Maxwell said.
The slain officer was identified Friday night as Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39, of Porter Ranch, according to a TSA official.
The victim was “very proud” of his son and “spoke profoundly” of his daughter, his friend and former colleague said.
Maxwell said he worked with Hernandez (pictured below) in TSA's logitistics department until last year, when Maxwell resigned from his position to care for his grandmother.
Three TSA workers were struck by gunfire Friday, one of them fatally, when a 23-year-old Los Angeles transplant allegedly shot his way past security and into Terminal 3.
“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,” TSA Administrator John Pistole said in a letter to his agency obtained by NBC4.
“Sadly, today marks the first incident where a TSA officer was killed in the line of duty. We can take some comfort knowing that the two injured officers are recovering from their wounds.”
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Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, was wounded in a shootout with officers inside LAX and taken into custody in connection with the terrifying attack that happened during a busy Friday morning at the airport.
Ciancia was allegedly armed with hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
“There were more than 100 more rounds that could've literally killed everybody in that terminal today," Mayor Eric Garcetti said at an afternoon news conference, lauding law enforcement's response that he said saved many lives.
In addition to the three TSA workers struck by gunfire, multiple others in the terminal were injured. Many of those hurt suffered “evasion injuries” – or injuries suffered while running away from the danger.
At least one is in critical condition, though it's unclear whether that person is a victim or the gunman, according to LA hospital officials.