I have to say that I'm shocked and feel deeply for the family and friends of TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez. Details emerging from the LAX shooting earlier this month indicate police could have, but refused to let paramedics enter the terminal to save this wounded officer's life.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — An airport security officer lay helplessly bleeding after a gunman opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport as paramedics waited 150 yards away because police had not declared the terminal safe to enter, according to two law enforcement officials.
It would be 33 minutes before Transportation Security Administration Officer Gerardo Hernandez, who was about 20 feet from an exit, would be wheeled out by police to an ambulance, said the officials, who were briefed on the investigation and spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe was still ongoing into the Nov. 1 shooting.
For all but five of those minutes, there was no threat from the suspected gunman — he had been shot and was in custody, they said.
So the picture is this -- the police were dumbfounded and confused. They let a victim bleed to death rather than assess the risk and allow paramedics to pull the wounded man to safety and possibly get him to a hospital in time to save his life.
The level of the threat had already been determined -- it was over. They had their one man. They may have suspected there could be accomplices but there wasn't a scintilla of evidence to indicate that. What there was was a dying victim who they totally ignored. The police had every obligation to see to it that the wounded officer was tended to. If this was a shooting out on the street involving one of their own, you can rest assured that some brave cop would have made his way, guns blazzing to provide him cover until he reached his fallen comrade and pulled him to safety.
But this wasn't the case here. The paramedics were refused entry until it was certainly far too late for Hernandez.
It's time to do some internal investigation. Nothing will bring the TSA agent back to his loved ones, but policy review must be undertaken to save lives in the future on risk assessment for paramedics. The shooter had already been apprehended. Hernandez could and should have been evacuated much sooner.
Look where the suspect was shot and look at where Henandez was shot. There was plenty of room and access for the paramedics to pull the TSA agent out. He was lying, bleeding to death, a mere 20 feet from an accessible exit.
Would it have saved his life? We won't know for sure. But this is a conversation we should never need to be having.
Is it too much to ask that someone gets reprimanded at the very least for this? For the Hernandez family, I hope so.
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