Report details out-of-sync response to LAX shooter

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 18, 2014 at 9:17 pm •  Published: March 18, 2014
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles International Airport was ill prepared for a crisis when a gunman ambushed security officers last year, and the emergency response was hindered by communication problems and poor coordination, according to a report released Tuesday.

The report spotlighted flaws in various divisions of the airport and in systems that were in place, but it did not single out individuals responsible for problems.

It also didn't mention that two airport police officers assigned to Terminal 3 were out of position without notifying dispatchers, as required, or discuss a decision months before the shooting to have police officers roam terminals instead of staffing security checkpoints such as the one approached by the attacker.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said a number of issues detailed in the report have been addressed and work will continue on others.

"I expect this airport to take care of this airport," Garcetti said at a news conference. "It is not something where we're going to look for the cavalry to come in and to save us. ... We had a pretty good system, but pretty good isn't good for me."

The 83-page report was put together by a consultant based on findings by several agencies that responded to the shooting and a review of surveillance video, dispatch logs and 911 calls.

It cited the heroism of officers who shot and arrested Paul Ciancia after a Transportation Security Administration officer was killed and three other people were injured Nov. 1.

It also detailed lapses in technology and coordination, however, and included some 50 recommendations and lessons learned.

"Had the attacker not been highly selective in his targets, and/or had there been multiple attackers with weapons of greater lethality, the outcome might have been far different," the report said.

J. David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said Tuesday the lack of coordination was "absolutely unacceptable" and medical aid to the fatally wounded TSA officer should not have been delayed.

The Associated Press previously found that the TSA officer was not taken to an ambulance for 33 minutes.

"This report confirmed what we already knew — that the security processes and systems at LAX are fundamentally broken," Cox said.

The report called for training airport police in tactical medicine so they can help the injured before paramedics arrive, and for training paramedics to enter more dangerous zones earlier with law enforcement protection.

Cox also called the report incomplete and off-target in ignoring that law enforcement officers had been redeployed to roam terminals and that two officers were out of position when the shooting began.

LAX Police Chief Patrick Gannon said he was satisfied with the activities of the officers. However, Garcetti said airport policies requiring notification must be enforced and officers should be reminded and retrained about those rules.

Cox called on the TSA and the airport board to take swift action to close security and emergency response gaps and said more needs to be done nationally to prevent such a situation from happening again. He said TSA officers, who are unarmed, shouldn't be in fear for their lives when going to work; they should know equipment will work and armed officers will be present when needed.

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