Agencies investigating LAX shooting ask for patience

Several agencies investigating the shooting at Los Angeles International Airport this month that left one TSA agent dead and three others wounded issued a joint statement Saturday saying they would be evaluating what improvements can be made in responding to such an incident in the future.

The statement was issued by Los Angeles World Airports, the FBI, the L.A. Fire Department, the L.A. Police Department and the Transportation Security Administration.

It characterized some of the statements made following the airport shooting and the response by authorities as "untrue" but said others “merit serious consideration by our respective agencies."

Authorities have accused Paul Ciancia of targeting TSA agents in the shooting rampage in LAX Terminal 3 on Nov. 1. Ciancia has been charged with fatally shooting TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez and wounding others before being shot by police.

According to an Associated Press report published Friday, a veteran LAPD officer responding to the scene came across Hernandez minutes after he had been shot. Citing an unnamed source, the report claimed that instead of immediately bringing Hernandez to paramedics stationed outside the terminal, the officer “checked on” him several times and declared to others that he was already dead. More than 30 minutes passed before officers from the airport’s own police brought Hernandez to paramedics, the report said.

Authorities have said Hernandez was shot repeatedly in the chest at close range; however, it is not known how quickly he died. Results of an autopsy have not yet been released. By the time he was brought out of the terminal, Hernandez was in full cardiac arrest, an emergency medical source with knowledge of the incident told The Times. Paramedics took him to a hospital, where doctors tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

Based on the claim in the AP report, the LAPD will open a formal investigation into the officer’s conduct, police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said. It is LAPD policy to conduct an investigation into any allegation of wrongdoing by an officer.

The LAPD is also conducting a broad review of how officers responded to the shooting. As part of that, investigators will review video recordings taken by terminal security cameras.

The joint statement issued Saturday said "command officers and airport administrators were faced with a wide range of important objectives, including conducting a complete search to rule out additional gunmen or explosives, identifying and treating all injured victims and coordinating the needs of the thousands of arriving and departing travelers that were impacted by the incident."

In addition to the local police and federal criminal investigations, the statement said, a special work group has been assembled to draw its own conclusions.    

"The principal agencies involved in responding to the incident will await the findings of the After Action Workgroup, which will provide the best perspective from which to draw conclusions, make recommendations or take other corrective action," the statement said.

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