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$25 Million Claim Filed in Fatal LAX Shooting

Gerardo Hernandez's family hopes the claim will protect all TSA agents and prevent future attacks

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The wife of slain TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez has filed a $25 million damages claim against the city of Los Angeles, contending the agency should have done more to protect unarmed TSA officers working at security checkpoints. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, 2014. (Published Thursday, Apr 24, 2014)

    A $25 million wrongful death claim has been filed against the city of Los Angeles in the shooting of a TSA officer during a rampage in November at LAX.

    The family of security officer Gerardo Hernandez alleges failures by city and airport employees "created a dangerous lapse in security," attorneys said, according to the claim, a precursor to a lawsuit.

    The family says the city failed to "properly hire, supervise, train, staff, and plan for the protection and safety of individuals and personnel" at Los Angeles International Airport.

    Hernandez, a 39-year-old husband and father, was killed Nov. 1 when a gunman shot his way past security and into the passenger area of Terminal 3.

    Three other people were injured.

    The alleged gunman, Paul Anthony Ciancia, 24, is awaiting trial on federal charges, including murder.

    "The city of Los Angeles employees failed in carrying out their duties, creating a very dangerous lapse in security which was a factor causing Mr. Hernandez to be fatally shot and killed," said Michael Alder, the family's attorney. "Even more horrific, is that the city's employees delayed medical care to Mr. Hernandez."

    An 83-page report released last month pointed out failures in communication and coordination between police and fire departments that led to delays in the establishment of a unified command center after the shooting.

    The various agencies also could not effectively communicate due to incompatible radio systems, the report found.

    The report made dozens of recommendations aimed at bolstering security and emergency response, and warned that the shooting could have been far deadlier if the perpetrator had been more sophisticated or if there had been multiple suspects.

    The first meeting among commanders didn’t occur for more than an hour and half after the attack began, the report found.

    "We're lucky that shooting didn't take more lives," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said during a press conference last month.

    Alder was specific about what he believed the airport could have done differently.

    "They should have had people in front. They should have had officers stationed." Alder said. "And they should not have allowed the officers that were there to not inform dispatch before they went on a break."