TSA agent competes to be in 'The Voice' semifinals

Transportation Security Administration Agent Damien Lawson, fourth from left, sings with the TSA Chorus at LAX in December 2012. Lawson will try to make the semifinals on "The Voice" on Tuesday evening.

Damien Lawson has been singing his heart out on NBC's "The Voice," and the pressure is on again Tuesday evening, when the final eight singers will be pared down for the semifinals.

But “The Voice” may not be the first time you’ve encountered Lawson. The Monroe, La., native and L.A. transplant is a Transportation Security Administration agent and was at Los Angeles International Airport's Terminal 3 on Nov. 1, 2013, the day a gunman opened fire, killing TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez.

"I was just doing my regular job," he says in an KNBC-TV Channel 4 interview, "and I heard gunshots. It's crazy that someone would come in and just want to shoot TSA people."

Lawson sang  at the memorial service for Hernandez.


Lawson also is part of the TSA Chorus, which rehearses and performs on its own time and own dime.

I first heard Lawson two years ago, when he performed a solo "I Believe I Can Fly," backed by the chorus. At the end of his performance, he modestly clasps his hands behind his back and looks a bit surprised at the applause.

"He is so humble," said Nico Melendez, a TSA spokesman. "He is that person."

In his video bio on "The Voice" website, Lawson, who is on leave from the TSA, says: "I just want to be an artist that inspires, encourages and motivates."

Twitter: @latimestravel