0 min left

Family of Slain TSA Officer Alleges Negligence, Seeks $25M


In November 2013, Ismael Hernandez became the first TSA employee killed in the line of duty at Los Angeles International Airport. Now, his family is filing a $25 million lawsuit against the city.

The family of a TSA officer who was shot and killed at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) last November is suing the city of Los Angeles and several other organizations, citing serious lapses in emergency preparedness, response and neglect in its response to the shooting.

TSA screener Ismael Hernandez was shot 12 times while on duty in Terminal 3 of LAX on November 1, 2013. Two others were wounded in the attack. The gunman, Paul Anthony Ciancia, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on 11 charges, including murder and attempted murder. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, alleges security lapses and unreasonable delays in medical care led to the death of Hernandez, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.

Michael Alder, the attorney for Hernandez’s family, told the Times that 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. Even more horrific is that the city’s employees delayed medical care to Mr. Hernandez.”

The lawsuit names the city of Los Angeles as a defendant in the case, as well as the Los Angeles police and fire departments, the Los Angeles Airport Police Department and Los Angeles World Airports, which operates LAX. Los Angeles County was also sued, the Times reported.

Key factors noted in the lawsuit allege that airport police officers left their positions without approval or arranging for coverage, which is a violation of city policy; that there was not adequate hiring, training or supervision of personnel to address emergency situations; inadequate security plans and communication; and that failure to secure the terminal resulted in a delay in paramedics reaching Hernandez, among other failures. It was 30 minutes before Hernandez received treatment following the shooting. An autopsy later concluded that Hernandez died within two to five minutes of being shot.

An earlier article from the Times noted that LAX officials had released their own assessment on the shooting, “identifying poor communication and coordination among agencies as key failures that contributed to a chaotic evacuation and delays reaching victims.”

Hernandez’s family filed earlier legal claims for damage, but those were rejected by Los Angeles. Airport officials declined to comment on the matter.

[Photo: Los Angeles Times]

Comments are Closed.
relangford October 10, 2014

While tragic for the TSA agent's family, is ANYONE'S life worth $25,000,000 (certainly not mine)? Not just in this case, but in just about all cases (yeah, maybe not in the case of a billionaire like Bill Gates). IMHO, in all cases of death or dismemberment, damages should be limited to actual expenses (hospital, etc.) and what the person could conceivably earn the rest of their life (discounting the possibility of winning the lottery). Maybe I'm cynical or cruel, but these absurd numbers make no sense. And - the lawyers should not get more than, maybe, 10%; the family deserves the money, not a lawyer. Hopefully, a rational jury and judge will award a sensible number - the family does deserve compensation in an appropriate amount since he died on duty.

diver858 October 10, 2014

I will never forget watching a TSA drill at DFW "security", when the agents used their bodies to physically block access through the metal detector. Without body armor or other protection, they are no more than cannon fodder for bad guys who are determined to get on to an airplane. For this reason alone, I have some sympathy for TSA agents, difficulties taking the entire "security" process seriously.