Los Angeles News

LAX shooting: Funeral, moment of silence held for slain TSA agent

Friday, November 08, 2013
TSA agents at LAX stop for a moment of silence for slain TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez, 39, is seen in this undated file photo. He was shot and killed in a shooting at LAX on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.

A funeral and a moment of silence were held Friday, one week after TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez was killed in a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport.

At 9:20 a.m., TSA agents at LAX and across the country paused to honor Hernandez. Security checkpoints were haulted to remember the 39-year-old and father of two. He is the first TSA agent to be killed in the line of duty.

Meantime, loved ones gathered in San Fernando for Hernandez's funeral service. About 300 people attended, including about 30 TSA officers who were present during the shooting. A children's choir and a soloist opened the service with "Do Not Be Afraid."

Hernandez's daughter read a letter at the service. She remembered him as a loving and creative person who taught her to be strong.

The Honor Flag was also on display. It arrived at LAX Wednesday and has traveled the country since Sept. 11, 2001, to services like Hernandez's.

People attending the funeral said this was their way of supporting the family.

"No one can know what they're going through," said family friend Barbara Blakely. "They need to know how much we felt for the family, and we love the family."

The suspected gunman, 23-year-old Paul Ciancia, injured TSA agents James Speer, 54, and Tony Grigsby, 36. Calabasas High School teacher Brian Ludmer, 29, was also injured in the shooting.

Ciancia was shot by police and remains hospitalized. He was charged with murder of a federal officer and commission of violence at an international airport. If convicted, Ciancia could face the death penalty. A motive remains unclear.

Those who knew Hernandez say he was a consistently smiling fixture inside Terminal 3 for the last five years. Many say he helped save lives during the airport shooting and called him a hero.

"I just thank God for every day and the opportunity to meet Gerardo so that he could touch all of our lives because he really was a beautiful human being," said one man, who attended a vigil for Hernandez Monday night.

Since the shooting, TSA agents have said they feel vulnerable, and others say they want a larger armed presence at LAX. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said he is considering improvements, but isn't convinced more armed officers is the solution.

"I don't think just having a picket line of armed security is the answer. I think that we have to have electronic barriers and better surveillance, and better coordination of surveillance," he said.

According to airport police, there is an increased law enforcement presence at LAX, which helps soothing some passenger anxiety.

"It's good, reassuring, and I guess that's the idea," said Rahul Rao.

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shooting, los angeles international airport, los angeles news
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