A story for every victim

Gerardo Ismael Hernandez, 39

Gerardo Ismael Hernandez (2013-11-01)

Gerardo Ismael Hernandez, a 39-year-old Latino, died Friday, Nov. 1, 2013, after he was shot at the Los Angeles International Airport, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.

Hernandez was shot at a document screening podium in Terminal 3 at point-blank range, authorities said. The gunman rode up an escalator, turned around and noticed the bleeding man squirming. He went back and fired again, authorities said, killing Hernandez. Hernandez was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11 a.m.

Three others were wounded in the 10-minute rampage. 

The shooter was apparently dropped off at LAX just after 9 a.m. Nov. 1. The gunman wore dark clothes and a bulletproof vest and had not purchased a ticket. He carried a Smith & Wesson .223-caliber M&P-15 assault rifle, five loaded magazines and a trove of ammunition, said David Bowdich, special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Division at the FBI’s Los Angeles office.

After shooting Hernandez, authorities and witnesses said, the gunman calmly fired his way through the screening area, all the while cursing TSA agents. He asked terrified bystanders: "Are you TSA?" If they answered no, he moved on.

Some travelers ducked behind planters and advertising kiosks to avoid gunfire; others fled to taxiing planes. Airport police, who were "60 seconds behind the suspect," according to airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon, shot the gunman in the leg and head near a food court. The rampage temporarily halted traffic at the nation's third-busiest airport, stranding thousands of passengers. 

Hernandez was the first TSA agent slain in the line of duty. The day after the shooting, Hernandez's widow briefly addressed reporters, praising her husband as an ever-smiling father of two who came to L.A. from El Salvador at age 15 and joined the TSA three years ago.

"He was always excited to go to work," said Ana Hernandez, who struggled to remain composed. "I am truly devastated."

READ MORE: Slain TSA agent recalled for bravery and valor

READ MORE: LAX shooter's plea agreement reveals he did not consider himself a terrorist, but a 'patriot

Do you have information to share about the life of Gerardo Ismael Hernandez ? The Homicide Report needs your help. Please fill out this form or e-mail us at homicidereport@latimes.com.

Share a memory or thought about Gerardo Ismael Hernandez

Before you post, here are some answers to frequently asked questions:

Remember, all posts are approved by a Times staffer. Profanity and personal attacks will not be approved.