House to hold shooting hearing at LAX

Lawmakers in the House will travel to Los Angeles International Airport next Friday to conduct a hearing about the shooting that occurred there last fall.

The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a field hearing at the airport titled "Lessons from the LAX Shooting: Preparing for and Responding to Emergencies at Airports,” officials with the panel announced. 

The hearing follows the release of a critical report by the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) reviewing the circumstances that surrounded the Nov. 1 shooting, which resulted in the first death of an on-duty Transportation Security Administration (TSA) since the agency’s inception in 2002.

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The report found that there were gaps in communication between emergency responders that could have resulted in more damage if the shooting spree had continued.

Homeland Security Committee officials said the field hearing Friday will allow members of the panel to review the findings of Los Angeles airport authority and lawmakers' own reviews with TSA Administrator John Pistole and officials from the LAWA agency.

“Last November, a shooter entered LAX and senselessly took the life of TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez and injured three other individuals," Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said in a statement.

"The immediate actions of TSA and law enforcement to pursue the shooter undoubtedly saved lives, however it has been discovered since the incident that some procedures could be improved in order to ensure TSA can communicate with local and airport police more efficiently," McCaul continued. "It is important that we review how airport security can better coordinate and respond to an emergency, and I look forwarding to hearing from TSA Administrator Pistole and the LA World Airport police regarding their investigations into this tragic event.”

The chairman of the Homeland Security Committee's Transportation Security subcommittee, Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), agreed.

"This hearing will give Members the opportunity to honor the victims of the tragic shooting at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) by examining ways to better protect the passengers, officers, and employees who enter our nation's airports every day," Hudson said. "I look forward to analyzing the findings of the reports from both LAX airport officials and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). These reports, together with the hearing and input from other critical stakeholders, will give us a better understanding of what more can be done to ensure the safety and security of the traveling public."

Pistole is scheduled to be joined at the House hearing by LAWA Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey and Los Angeles International Airport Chief of Police Patrick Gannon.