Trending News Monday: LAX Shooting Unearths Airport Security Concerns

Last month a nine-year-old slipped past security at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport and boarded a plane to Las Vegas, alarming the American public that airport security might not be as safe as they hoped it would be in a post-September 11 United States. Less than a month later, Americans again see that despite efforts to keep U.S. airports secure, tragedies can still happen as a gunman, Paul Anthony Ciancia, opened fire in a terminal at LAX International airport Friday, killing one TSA employee and injuring three others. While police responded quickly and wounded the shooter one minute after he opened fire, people are still concerned that airport security is lacking and that the event could have been much worse.

Twenty three-year-old Ciancia moved to California 18-months ago, but after a series of angry text messages last week, the shooter’s family grew concerned about Ciancia’s mental health and contacted LAPD Friday morning, fearing that he might be suicidal. However, when police arrived at the apartment, Ciancia was not there. Instead, Ciancia arrived at LAX armed with an assault-style rifle and three magazines of ammunition and began shooting at a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint. After shooting and killing Gerardo Hernandez, a 39-year-old TSA officer, at the checkpoint, Ciancia made his way through Terminal 3– likely targeting TSA agents– as he made his way through the terminal. Ciancia allegedly wrote a note where he talks about killing TSA agents, saying “if I just kill one, my mission is accomplished.”

According to Rueters Online, LAX–the nation’s third largest airport, has spent $1.6 billion on new security measures since the September 11 terrorist attacks, including increasing airport police department staff to “about 1,000 sworn and civilian personnel.” The Chicago Tribune reports that Ciancia allegedly deliberately took “advantage of security vulnerabilities.”

Before Friday, no TSA agent has ever been killed on the job. With much of America still reeling from the 9/11 attacks, events such as these seem utterly inexcusable, as the public depends on TSA to keep airports secure. While these events highlight obvious lapses in airport security, Rueters reports that authorities are looking for ways to make the airport more secure and avoid future occurrences like this.

For more information on the shooting, click here.

Cover Photo Source: Andrey Bayda / Shutterstock.com

Cassandra is a Content Manager and Developer at SJG. She earned her BA from Fontbonne University in 2011. Outside the office, she enjoys an active, healthy and well-rounded lifestyle including reading, writing, running, golfing, watching films, listening to music, taking photographs, and consuming media and social media.