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LAX Victim's Family Dealt 2nd Blow

A brother of ticket agent killed in July 4 shootings at airport dies after an auto accident in Chatsworth.

November 27, 2002|Wendy Thermos | Times Staff Writer

For the second time in five months, tragedy has struck the Chatsworth couple who lost a daughter in the July 4 shooting spree at Los Angeles International Airport.

Nimrod Hen, the 18-year-old brother of slain ticket agent Victoria Hen, died Tuesday of injuries suffered in a Nov. 16 car accident that is still under investigation.

The teenager's parents, Avi and Rachel Hen, "are in deep sorrow" after losing two of their three children and do not wish to discuss the devastating loss they feel, said family attorney Steve Solomon. "It's just a horrible thing for them." The family has one other child, a son, Udi, who is in his early 20s.

Victoria Hen, 25, was one of two people slain by Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, 41, an Egyptian immigrant, in a shooting rampage at the ticket counter of El Al Israel Airlines in the summer. U.S. authorities theorized it was an irrational act of anger, while Israeli officials have labeled it a terrorist attack.

Victoria Hen, who lived at home with her parents, was the eldest child. She had worked with El Al for almost two months when she was killed.

Now, police and the family are appealing for help in determining the circumstances of the crash that killed one of her brothers.

"This is just inconceivable that you could lose both a son and a daughter to separate tragedies," said Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Greg Meyer. "We are united in our commitment to resolve this case."

Officer Toni Wolfe, who is in charge of the investigation, said detectives want to talk to the driver who allegedly pulled out of the driveway of a shopping complex on Mason Avenue near Devonshire Street in Chatsworth and caused Hen to lose control of his vehicle.

"At this point we're not even considering pressing charges," Wolfe said. "Basically all we want this person to do is come in so we can interview him or her."

Investigators have not determined how fast Hen or the other car was traveling at the time of the crash. The posted speed limit is 35.

Hen was driving a Ford Mustang north on Mason about 4:30 p.m. when a sedan, described as a silver or gold Buick or Toyota, turned onto the street from a shopping center parking lot, police said.

Hen missed the car but swerved across oncoming lanes and crashed into two parked vehicles and a fire hydrant. The driver of the sedan did not return to the scene, witnesses said.

The motorist may not have known that a crash occurred, Wolfe said. California law requires any driver whose actions result in an accident to stop, exchange information and render aid.

If investigators determine that the motorist saw the crash and then left the scene, he or she could be charged with felony manslaughter, police said.

Hen suffered severe injuries, including crushed legs, but was alert and talking to family members immediately after the crash, officials said. He was taken to Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Woodland Hills, but his condition quickly deteriorated.

Thursday, he was declared brain dead, said Linda Quon, a spokeswoman for the hospital. His death may have been caused by a fat emboli, a condition similar to a blood clot that sometimes occurs with serious injuries, officials said. An autopsy is underway to determine the cause of death.

His passenger, Rashid Rashid, 18, of Chatsworth was recovering at home from cuts and bruises.

The Hens emigrated from Israel in 1990 and settled in the San Fernando Valley. Avi Hen built up a small, family-run automotive parts supply business in the Canoga Park area. Nimrod Hen lived with his parents and graduated in June from Chatsworth High School, where he was a popular student who assisted in the dean's office.

"He was very friendly, very outgoing, very well-liked by all his peers," said a school secretary. "He knew everyone in the offices here. As soon as he walked in, he would light up and say, 'Hey, how you doing?' "

"Right now the family has nothing to say," family spokesman Joseph Knoller said by telephone from their Chatsworth home. "What can I tell you except that it's a terrible tragedy?"

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Times staff writers Patricia Ward Biederman and David Pierson contributed to this report.

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