Grieving friends and family gathered at Gerardo Hernandez's home in Porter Ranch Friday night, mourning the loss of the first TSA officer to die in the line of duty.
"I was very surprised. He's an ordinary guy trying to help support his family and working for the TSA. He's just trying to work for the country. This is just a tragedy," neighbor Ken Wong said.
"It was shocking. Very nice guy. I'm just speechless. I'm shocked," neighbor Tatiana said.
The 39-year-old father of two was gunned down at LAX. Officials initially said Hernandez had transferred from Montana, but they later issued a correction saying he had not relocated from the state.
Authorities say 23-year-old Paul Ciancia was armed with an assault rifle and reportedly aiming for TSA employees.
Three other officers were injured in the mayhem, but none with life-threatening injuries. One was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. Another wounded in the shoulder is in fair condition at UCLA Medical Center. Another male victim, who suffered a broken ankle, has been released.
Five patients in all were taken to area hospitals, including the suspected gunman, who is apparently in critical condition, and Hernandez, who didn't survive.
"Nice guy. Very nice guy. Every time we just said, 'Hi, how are you doing?' He was always busy with his kids," neighbor Habib Bonakdar said.
Friends say Hernandez was a loving father who often played outside with his young son and daughter. His desire to help keep others safe stretched from his job to his neighborhood as he went door to door warning others after his home had been robbed.
"He said, 'Just be careful because they came into my house, and they got all kinds of stuff. I was told that you have kids yourself, and keep your doors closed,' which I thought was very nice of him," Tatiana said.
Hernandez had been with the TSA since 2010.