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TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez honored at memorial service

Many paid tribute at a public memorial in honor of TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez, who was killed by a gunman at LAX.
November 12, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
TSA agents, family members and dignitaries paid tribute to TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez at his public memorial on Tuesday.

A marching band of bagpipers started the ceremony, which began at 10 a.m., followed by a ceremonial salute by the Honor Guard.

In front of a packed arena, the TSA LAX Chorus sang "Amazing Grace," then came the speeches - all honoring the memory of Officer Hernandez.

LAX TSA Federal Security Director Darby LaJoye, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, TSA Administrator John Pistole were among the first to speak. Family friends and Hernandez's fellow TSA officers from Terminal 3 gave personal anecdotes of how the 39-year-old father of two impacted their lives.

In a touching moment, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers presented a folded American flag to Hernandez's wife.

After the flag presentation, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder came up to the podium and spoke. He called Hernandez a hero, and thanked all TSA officers for their work.

"Every single day, he took pride in the role that he played to keep the American people safe," said Holder.

Holder also pledged to see justice served.

"We will do everything in our power to ensure those responsible for this senseless act can and will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law," he said.

The ceremony ended with the playing of "Taps."

It has been just over one week since Hernandez was gunned down at LAX by suspected gunman Paul Anthony Ciancia. Hernandez's funeral was held last Friday, and there have been several memorials held in the past week.

Last Wednesday, the U.S. Honor Flag, which once flew over Ground Zero in New York, was flown to LAX and driven around the airport in a motorcade to honor Hernandez.

Last Friday, TSA agents and other workers at airports across the country held a moment of silence, marking the one-week anniversary of the shooting.

Hernandez was the only person killed at Terminal 3 on Nov. 1. TSA agents James Speer, 54, and Tony Grigsby, 36, and Calabasas High School teacher Brian Ludmer, 29, were also injured in the shooting.

Ciancia was shot by police and remains hospitalized. He was charged with murder of a federal officer and commission of violence at an international airport. If convicted, Ciancia could face the death penalty. A motive remains unclear.

Hernandez is survived by his wife and two children. He had moved to the U.S. from El Salvador when he was just 15 years old. He had worked for the TSA since 2010 and friends say he loved his job.


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