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Report: Communications Breakdown After LAX Airport Shooting

LAPD and other agencies had trouble talking to each other after reports of gunfire on Nov. 1, 2013, says new "after action" study.

Communications chaos reigned last Nov. 1 as police, firefighters and rescue personnel from more than 20 agencies descended on Los Angeles International Airport after reports of gunfire inside a terminal, preventing commanders from coordinating their response, according to a review of the incident being released Tuesday.

The 100-page “after action” report on the Los Angeles airport shooting said the lack of “interoperable radio communication” between the Airport Police, the Los Angeles police and fire departments and other agencies that responded to the shooting led to a communications breakdown that meant “each was unaware of what the other doing.”

“This hampered the incident commander’s ability to coordinate law enforcement and fire department activities related to victim extraction from the danger area,” the report said.

It did not provide details on whether the confusion contributed to the death of Transportation Safety Administration Officer Gerardo Hernandez, 39, who died of multiple gunshot wounds before rescuers could reach him. Rather, it recommended that emergency medical personnel be trained to enter an active shooting scene under police protection and outfitted with “necessary ballistic armor” to provide “life-saving help sufficient to permit evacuation.”

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The shooting at LAX Terminal 3 that left Hernandez dead and three others wounded began at 9:18 a.m., when accused gunman Paul Ciancia allegedly pulled out a gun and began shooting at TSA personnel, the report said. It ended seven minutes later, at 9:25, when he was shot and seriously wounded near Gate 35.

Ciancia, 24, is awaiting federal trial after pleading not guilty to 11 counts, including murder and attempted murder.