A 39-year-old TSA agent killed at Los Angeles International Airport was the first to die in the line of duty, union officials said Friday.
The Transportation Security Administration agent, identified as Gerardo I. Hernandez, was shot to death by a man who opened fire with an assault rifle Friday morning in Terminal 3, wounding several agents.
Hernandez had recently transferred to his post from Montana and was a “behavior detection officer,” meaning he walked around the airport looking for suspicious behavior, according to American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr.
Cox held a conference call with reporters several hours after the shooting Friday.
He said the union’s “heart is broken.”
President Barack Obama called Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti expressing support for the family of the agent, Garcetti at a Friday afternoon news conference.
Thousands of assaults on agents happen every year, but this is the first fatal incident, Cox said.
The suspect has no connection to the TSA, Cox said, in reference to earlier reports that the shooter was a TSA officer.
The TSA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was created in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
TSA Administrator John S. Pistole planned to come to Los Angeles Saturday, Obama told Garcetti.
KTLA’s Melissa Pamer contributed to this report.