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LAX Shooting Proves Our Airport Isn't Really Ready For A Crisis, Report Says

A TSA arm patch at LAX (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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Following a shooting last year at Los Angeles Airport that left a TSA agent dead and three people injured, officials say LAX is ill-equipped to handle a crisis.Local and national officials said the airport’s response to shooter Paul Ciancia’s attack last November was a “failure” and an “embarrassment,” The Associated Press reported. The 83-page report released Tuesday said the airport’s emergency response system needs big changes, and fast.

The report cited a lack of coordination between airport agencies and poor communication with travelers who didn’t know what had just happened when the attack occurred. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said he himself had to tell people what had happened as he walked through the airport the day the attack happened.

Here’s what Garcetti had to say about it all:

“I would say this is a nationwide failure so far. For us to be 13 years almost ... after 9/11 still trying to figure out a way to talk to each other frustrates me as a policymaker, frustrates me as the mayor of the second biggest city in America, frustrates me as a leader of this airport too, which is consistently a target for international terrorism and domestic terrorism.”
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The report didn’t single any individual people out, and didn’t mention that two airport police officers were away from their post at the terminal where the shooting happened without telling dispatchers. It also didn’t mention a decision months before the shooting to have officers roam the terminals rather than stay put at security checkpoints. The report was compiled by a consultant based on findings by several agencies, security video, 911 calls and dispatch logs.

For their part, thousands of LAX workers said they want better emergency training and that they had no idea what to do during the shooting. Members of the LAX union SEIU United Service Workers West conducted their own study revealed last week, according to the AP, that said workers were given little to no direction during the attack and the five-hour-plus airport shutdown that followed. Some even said they had been better trained for emergencies by their previous jobs at places like Taco Bell, Disneyland and Wal-Mart.