Shooting at LA International Airport shows need for self-protection

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 1: A Los Angeles Police Department helicopter flies above a crowd of passengers waiting outside the Los Angeles International Airport after a shooting side Terminal 3 November 1, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. A man reportedly pulled an assault rifle in Terminal 3 of the airport and shot his way through security, killing one Transportation Security Administration (TSA) worker and wounding several others. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 1: A Los Angeles Police Department helicopter flies above a crowd of passengers waiting outside the Los Angeles International Airport after a shooting inside Terminal 3.  (Getty Images)


A 23-year-old gunman armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire Friday, November 1 at a Los Angeles International Airport checkpoint and killed a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent and injured at least six other people.

Police say the gunman was shot and wounded after passing the security point.

LAPD Police Chief Patrick Gannon told reporters security sweeps through the entire airport lead authorities to believe all the activity was limited to Terminal 3.


Business travelers in airports, shoppers at malls, and people exposed at public events may think they can’t protect against what appear to be random shootings.

Security consultant and former Los Angeles Police Department officer Yehuda Packer says having a security presence around malls, theaters, and schools is a deterrent that works.

“Los Angeles International has been targeted for some time. LAPD and the airport police have a good pulse [on potential danger].”

Yehuda is the CEO of Expert Security Services, Incorporated and has a Master’s degree in Homeland Security/Counter Terrorism. He told me there are three preventative measures every one can take.

Check Surroundings

“Understand your surroundings, including but not limited to persons, places, and how they interact with each other and yourself. As an example, if you are in a Mall, know what floor you are on, what store you walked out of or by and if there is any thing unusual with regards to persons in and about the area or packages left behind.” He said a lone package should not be left.

Follow Code

“I advise all my clients to always be in the ‘Yellow light phase’ mode when in public places. What I mean by the ‘yellow light phase’ is to always move with caution in your public activities, don’t just run ‘green light’ from place to place. Slow down and make yourself aware of the surrounding and be guided by what you initially see.

“On the other hand, being in the ‘red light phase’, not feeling comfortable with your surroundings, being constantly afraid to venture out of your normal circle of travel and to be suspicious of everything is just not healthy as well.”

Do Assessments

“When hired to provide security for a particular institution or area, it is imperative to conduct a thorough threat assessment of the facility, look for potential hazards, weak security zones and understand the dynamics of ingress and egress of the facility.

“Have a good understanding of the day to day operations of the facility and the persons who work, visit or deliver to that location.”

Yehuda says presence sets the tone. “It tells the bad guy ‘you don’t want to be over here or we’re going to get you in custody.'”

He said a security presence at malls, theaters, schools, or other public places do not necessarily have to be armed, but they should be trained well on calling for help and knowing specific action steps to take in the event of an emergency.

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