Around the Nation

Report: Emergency Response Inadequate In Airport Shooting

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A report on the deadly shooting at Los Angeles International Airport last year was released Tuesday. It criticizes the response of public safety agencies, citing poor coordination and faulty technology.


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.


And I'm Audie Cornish.

Bad communication, faulty technology, and poor planning - those are just some of the issues highlighted in a report about the deadly shooting last year at Los Angeles International Airport. A TSA worker was killed in that attack and three people were wounded. NPR's Nathan Rott has more.

NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: There are 19 major observations and more than 50 recommendations outlined in the 83-page report prepared for L.A.'s airport authority. Phone systems and panic buttons weren't working properly and there were gaps in communication between police, fire, and medical responders. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI: The biggest failure was our lack of communication.

ROTT: More than 20 different agencies responded to the shooting November 1st, some as early as seconds after a gunman walked into LAX's Terminal 3 and started firing. But according to the report, those responders didn't put together a coordinated command structure until 45 minutes later. And the communication with waiting travelers and the public was even worse.

GARCETTI: Unless they got information from somebody, heard from somebody who came by, they were completely clueless. And that was unacceptable to me.

ROTT: The report did point out that the most immediate responders, LAX's in-house police, responded, quote, "quickly and heroically." Garcetti made sure to reiterate that.

GARCETTI: But I also want to be clear that we got lucky that day.

ROTT: Authorities say that the alleged gunman, 24-year old Paul Ciancia, was targeting TSA workers as part of a vendetta he had against the federal government. The sole fatality, 39-year-old Gerardo Hernandez, was shot a dozen times.

GARCETTI: If this person had not just been targeting TSA agents, for instance, there are many other people he went by that could be dead today.

ROTT: Garcetti and LAX's leadership say they're working to fix the problems and that many have already been addressed. Unions that represent TSA workers and airport police officers, though, say these fixes should have been done years ago. Marshall McClain is the president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association.

MARSHALL MCCLAIN: We shouldn't have to have an after-action report to find out if these things are incorrect. They are incorrect.

ROTT: The union representing TSA workers will release its own report on the shooting soon. Nathan Rott, NPR News.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from