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L.A. Mayor Garcetti launches teddy bear drive for victims

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti sent an email blast to his supporters Tuesday, but this time he wasn't asking for campaign donations or votes.

Instead, he was seeking stuffed animals.

The mayor is collecting teddy bears to be given out at the scene of emergencies. He said he came up with the idea after this month's mass shooting at Los Angeles International Airport.

In his email, Garcetti asked residents to drop off new teddy bears at locations around the city. The bears will be handed out by the city's crisis response team, a crew of volunteers who respond to emergencies alongside police officers and firefighters to offer emotional support.

"It may not seem like much, but to a young child who may have just lost everything, your gift can be the gesture that begins to stitch their world back together," Garcetti wrote in the email.

Earlier in the day, Garcetti spoke at a memorial service, along with Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers, to honor a Transportation Security Administration officer killed 11 days ago in the deadly shooting rampage at LAX.

The suspect, Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, allegedly opened fire inside the airport before being wounded by police. On Tuesday, his condition was upgraded from critical to fair, said officials at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. He has been charged with murder.


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Twitter: @katelinthicum

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