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LAPD to investigate claim of delay in treating wounded TSA agent

November 15, 2013|By Joel Rubin and Dan Weikel
  • A Transportation Security Administration agent was killed and a suspect wounded Nov. 1 at LAX.
A Transportation Security Administration agent was killed and a suspect… ( KTLA )

Los Angeles police officials said Friday they would investigate allegations made in a news report that an LAPD officer delayed medical attention for an airport security employee fatally wounded during the shooting at LAX earlier this month.

Police Chief Charlie Beck, however, called the claims in the report “highly speculative,” saying it was too early to draw conclusions about how officers responded to the Nov. 1 shooting.

Authorities have accused Paul Ciancia of targeting agents with the Transportation Security Administration when he allegedly opened fire with an assault rifle in Terminal 3 of Los Angeles International Airport. Ciancia has been charged with fatally shooting TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez and wounding others before being shot by police.

According to an Associated Press report published Friday, a veteran LAPD officer responding to the scene came across Hernandez minutes after he had been shot. Citing an unnamed source, the report claimed that instead of immediately bringing Hernandez to paramedics stationed outside the terminal, the officer “checked on” him several times and declared to others that he was already dead. More than 30 minutes passed before officers from the airport’s own police force brought Hernandez to paramedics, the report said.

Authorities have said Hernandez was shot repeatedly in the chest at close range, however it is not known how quickly he died. Results of an autopsy have not yet been released. By the time he was brought out of the terminal, Hernandez was in full cardiac arrest, an emergency medical source with knowledge of the incident told The Times. Paramedics transported him to a hospital, where doctors tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

Based on the claim in the AP report, the LAPD will open a formal investigation into the officer’s conduct, said LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith. It is LAPD policy to conduct an investigation into any allegation of wrongdoing by an officer.

The LAPD is also conducting a broad review of how officers responded to the shooting. As part of that, investigators will review video recordings taken by terminal security cameras.

Marshall McClain, president of the union that represents officers in the separate airport Police Department, also raised questions about the LAPD officer’s alleged inaction and the time it took to bring Hernandez to medical aid. “My point is we are trained to render aide. It is not your job to decide someone is dead,” McClain told The Times.

McClain emphasized that he has not seen any video recordings of the shooting and so does not know exactly what officers did when Hernandez was discovered. McClain said his criticism is based on accounts provided to him by officers who responded to the shooting.


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Times staff writers Richard Winton and Robert J. Lopez contributed to this report.

Twitter: @joelrubin, @LADeadline16

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