PORTER RANCH (CBSLA.com) — Neighbors are mourning the Transportation Security Administration officer killed Friday morning when a 23-year-old man opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport.
Gerardo Hernandez, 39, was killed when suspect Paul Ciancia entered Terminal 3 around 9:20 a.m. and started shooting.
Hernandez was the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty since the agency was created shortly after 9/11.
Hernandez’s Porter Ranch neighbors were stunned and saddened by the day’s events.
“I’m shocked, the guy is a very nice guy,” said Habib Bonakdar.
Neighbor Ken Wong added, “It’s just tragic. What a terrible thing. Here’s a man who was trying to serve his country, do his job well and support his family, and this is a senseless thing that happened; it shouldn’t have happened.”
Wong said Hernandez was married with children.
“I can’t even imagine how grief-stricken they must be,” he said.
Hernandez, along with two other injured TSA officers, are being called heroes as their actions likely stopped the gunman from killing or hurting other people.
“That’s inspiring for all of us. May God bless his family,” Wong said. “My heart goes out to them, and I pray that the Lord would give them peace and strength to go through this.”
On Saturday, Hernandez’ grief-stricken wife, Ana Hernandez, faced reporters and talked about her husband, a TSA employee since 2010.
“I am devastated,” said Hernandez, “We are all heartbroken. We will miss him dearly.”
The couple met in 1994 when she was 16 and he was 19, she recalled.
“And we have been together ever since,” she said, choking back tears.
The couple married, on Valentine’s Day in 1998, “and we have two beautiful, wonderful children,” Hernandez shared.
Mrs. Hernandez also said her husband would have turned 40 next week, reported CBS2’s Greg Mills.