TSA agent killed at LAX died within 2-5 minutes of being shot, officials say

The TSA chorus sings at a memorial to slain Transportation Security Administration Officer Gerardo Hernandez.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

This post has been updated below.

The Transportation Security Administration agent who was killed at Los Angeles International Airport died within two to five minutes of being shot, coroner’s officials said.

He was shot multiple times, according to a one-page statement released Wednesday by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. A final autospy report is expected to be released Friday.


Gerardo I. Hernandez, a 39-year-old father of two, became the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty when a gunman opened fire at the airport the morning of Nov. 1. Three others were wounded before the suspect -- identified as Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23 -- was shot in a gun battle with airport police and taken into custody.

Ciancia, who was shot in the head and leg, was released Monday from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. He has been charged with the murder of a federal officer and the commission of violence at an airport, though no court appearance has been set.

[Updated at 5:49 p.m.: A report from the Associated Press last week quoted Marshall McClain, president of the airport police officers union, alleging that a veteran LAPD officer delayed medical attention for Hernandez, despite reaching the agent minutes after he had been shot.

The AP report cited officials who saw surveillance video. The officer “checked on” Hernandez several times and told others he was already dead. The report said more than 30 minutes passed before airport police brought Hernandez to paramedics.]

Hernandez was in full cardiac arrest by the time he was brought out of the terminal, 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.

Marshall McClain, president of the union that represents airport police officers, raised questions about the time it took to bring Hernandez to medical aid. “My point is we are trained to render aid,” he told The Times. “It is not your job to decide someone is dead.”

McClain said his criticism was based on accounts provided to him by officers at the scene.

Los Angeles police officials said they would formally investigate the officer’s alleged conduct, per department policy to look into any claims of an officer’s wrongdoing. But Police Chief Charlie Beck called the report’s claims “highly speculative,” saying it was too early to draw conclusions about how officers responded.

The LAPD is also conducting a broad review of its response to the incident.

On Saturday, a statement issued by Los Angeles World Airports, the FBI, the Los Angeles Fire Department, the LAPD and the TSA called some of the statements made about the shooting and the response “untrue,” while others “merit serious consideration by our respective agencies.”

A special work group had been established to recommend whether any corrective action should be taken, the statement said. “We are rightfully evaluating where improvements can be made should we ever be faced with such an incident in the future.”


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