I came to the TSA to protect people’: Injured officer recounts LAX attack

Transportation Security Administration officer Tony Grigsby talks to reporters with his mother Faye Maye at his home in Los Angeles, Calif., on Monday. Grigsby said he was trying to help an elderly man get to safety when the gunman shot him. Nick Ut / AP

One of the Transportation Security Administration officers injured in a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday spoke publicly for the first time Monday and said he was more concerned with the safety of others than his own well-being.

Tony Grigsby, 36, said his focus was, "to make sure people are safe first, then worry about me." “I came to TSA to protect people,” said Grigsby, who has been an officer for nine years.

During Friday's mayhem, Grigsby said he was helping an elderly man to safety when he “turned around and there was a gunman who shot me twice.”

After he was wounded in the foot, he said he saw scared people coming toward him and, “all I could think about was helping them.”

Grigsby also offered his condolences to his friend, Gerardo I. Hernandez’s family. Hernandez was shot and killed “at point blank range” by alleged gunman, Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, who then shot and injured Grigsby, another TSA agent and one civilian.

Grigsby recalled how he and Hernandez joked about taking a vacation to Mexico the last time they spoke.

He was "very dear to me," he said.

A law enforcement source told NBC News that Ciancia was carrying anti-government literature during the rampage, which expressed animosity toward racial minorities. According to a criminal complaint, Ciancia was also specifically targeting TSA agents.

On Monday, a TSA union president, Jeffrey Cox Sr., called for more armed TSA agents and “a new class of TSA officers with law enforcement status.”

Airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon said the TSA agents’ actions on Friday were “remarkable,” but said he did “not have the opinion that more guns means more safety.”

Gannon said the patrol posts of police officers in LAX were changed in April 2013 and that the nearest armed officer was on a different level of the terminal — out of visibility from where Ciancia started shooting.

On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that “security is not a TSA function, but it's something that we need to examine given what happened in Los Angeles."

James Speer, 54, another injured TSA officer told NBC Los Angeles from his home where he was recovering Monday that he was “feeling really lousy."

Brian Ludmer, 29, a teacher, was also injured in the attack and had multiple surgeries on his leg, but was upgraded to “good condition” on Monday, according to NBCLA.

Ciancia, who was shot in the face by police officers, is in critical but stable condition. Federal prosecutors have charged him with killing a federal officer and committing violence at an international airport. If convicted, he could be sentenced to the death penalty or life without parole.