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Friends, neighbors of slain TSA agent remember him as 'a great guy'

On Saturday morning, police stood by as news trucks clogged the Porter Ranch street in front of the home of Gerardo Hernandez, the Transportation Safety Administration agent killed in Friday's shooting at LAX.

Hernandez, 39, was the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty since the agency was formed in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"No words can explain the horror that we experienced today when a shooter took the life of a member of our family," agency administrator John Pistole wrote in a letter Friday.

The suspect was identified by police as Paul Anthony Ciancia, a 23-year-old New Jersey native who lived most recently in Los Angeles. Ciancia was critically wounded by police and remains in custody at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

In Porter Ranch, Hernandez's family remained inside, asking for privacy as they mourned their loss. But a trickle of neighbors offered memories.

One neighbor, who declined to give his name, said Hernandez paid him a visit after the neighbor's home was burglarized. He offered help and gave tips on installing security and surveillance. Hernandez's home was burglarized soon after.

"He was a very nice man," the neighbor said.

Another neighbor said Hernandez would chat -- and sometimes commiserate -- about being government employees. It was rough, Hernandez would say, getting up early enough to be at his post at the airport by 3 a.m.

"It's devastating because he was such a great guy," one of Hernandez's friends, Kevin Maxwell, told KNBC. Maxwell said Hernandez was a "very proud" father of a boy and a girl.

Hernandez was one of two shooting victims taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. When he arrived, doctors said it was evident there was no chance of survival.

A round of shots broke into fragments inside his torso and caused chest injuries and debilitating internal bleeding.

"We made every effort to stop the bleeding and get the heart to beat on his own," Dr. David Plurad told NBC News.


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