Los Angeles

Family of Slain TSA Officer Sues City for $25 Million

Attorneys allege lapse in security, failure for proper training led to killing of Gerardo Hernandez in LAX shooting

The family of a TSA officer who was killed during a shooting rampage at LAX last year has sued Los Angeles authorities for $25 million, saying their actions led to his wrongful death.

Gerardo Hernandez, 39, was killed last November when a gunman shot his way past security and into the passenger area of Terminal 3 at LAX. Three other people were wounded.

His family says in its lawsuit filed Tuesday that authorities failed to properly train staff, created a "dangerous lapse in security" when police officers left posts without calling for backup and failed to provide immediate medical assistance for Hernandez.

"The city of Los Angeles employees failed in carrying out their duties, creating a very dangerous lapse in security which was a factor causing Mr. Hernandez to be fatally shot and killed," said Michael Alder, the family's attorney, when the initial complaint was filed in April. "Even more horrific, is that the city's employees delayed medical care to Mr. Hernandez."

The family also alleges that a mayoral committee had previously exposed inadequate emergency response training to respond to active shooter scenarios, but officials failed to rectify the issues, and that the 911 "red phones" at LAX were outdated, according to the lawsuit.

An 83-page report released in March pointed out failures in communication and coordination between police and fire departments that led to delays in the establishment of a unified command center after the shooting.

The lawsuit's claims are leveled against the city and county of Los Angeles, Los Angeles World Airports, the airport’s police, LA police and fire departments and 100 unnamed individuals, all of whom in the lawsuit attorneys believe "were, in some way, negligently or otherwise, responsible for" Hernandez’s death.

John Krattli, an attorney for the county, has denied the allegations.

"A preliminary investigation fails to indicate any involvement on the part of the County of Los Angeles, its officers, agents, or employees," he said in a memo from April.

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