Law enforcement officials are investigating a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport that killed one Transportation Security Administration officer and wounded two others Friday.
Officials said TSA officer Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39, was shot and killed by a man carrying a note that said he wanted to "kill TSA" used a semi-automatic rifle. The gunman, who was dressed in fatigues, was wounded in a shootout with airport police and taken into custody. His condition has not been disclosed. The FBI and Los Angeles Airport Police identified the gunman as 23-year-old Paul Ciancia of Pennsville, N.J. He had apparently been living in Los Angeles. An official said Ciancia had at least five full 30-round magazines on him.
That shooting had an impact on air travel across the country on departure and arrival times, and it took a toll on flyers' nerves.
Some passengers waiting at the Chattanooga Airport this evening came from Charlotte, North Carolina and Orlando, Florida. NewsChannel9 spoke to one traveler who was dropped off at the airport and said she heard about the shooting before leaving home for her plane.
"You want to know that you're traveling, and you're going to be in safe hands at the airport. So, hearing that is kind of scary, I would say," said Anita Chukwu, a traveler.
But a few people coming off flights actually didn't hear about the L.A. airport shooting until a NewsChannel9 crew informed them about what happened. There were other passengers who said they heard about the incident during news broadcasts at the airports in other states.
"It was a little creepy that we sort got right past security at that point and then saw everything that was going on," said Collin Campbell, who flew from Orlando, Fl. "It was very interesting. You could see that everyone was a little nervous at that point, wondering what truly was going on."
Most of the passengers said they hope tighter security measures are taken to make sure a similar incident doesn't happen again at any airport.
"There should probably some sort of armed presence, be it police officers or someone trained," said Darrell Van Ormer, who landed in Friday night from Charlotte, N.C. "You have people going through the screening process to get to the airplanes with the passengers. But, if the TSA agents aren't armed, then that leaves them at risk."
Campbell said he felt many people at the Orlando airport were desensitized to the shootings because of how recently and how frequently schools and other places are being targeted.
"I definitely caught myself looking as we walked through the airport, kind of looking around, being more cognizant of what people were doing around me and getting off the plane and walking near security," said Drew Brodnax, an airline passenger from Orlando, Fl. "It just kind of hits home when you're traveling through the airport."
NewsChannel9 didn't find any local flights affected by the situation in L.A. A Chattanooga airport spokesperson sent a statement saying, We are deeply saddened by this senseless violence and our hearts and prayers are with those families affected. While these types of isolated incidents are unpredictable, we have complete confidence in our airport security in continuing to maintain a safe and secure environment for our employees and travelers.
The slain security worker was the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty in the 12-year history of the agency, which was founded in the aftermath of 9/11.By Briona Arradondo