The wife of the TSA officer killed in Friday's shooting at Los Angeles Airport described him today as a good-natured and "great man who always showed his love for our family."
Ana Hernandez, 35, told reporters that she married her husband, Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39, on Valentine's Day 1994, four years after they met as teenagers.
"He was always there to help anyone in need and always made people laugh with his wonderful sense of humor," said Ana Hernandez, a worldwide marketing budget manager at Warner Bros. "I am truly devastated, we are all heartbroken and will miss him dearly."
Gerardo Hernandez died after a gunman identified as Paul Ciancia, 23, pulled an assault rifle from a bag and shot him at Los Angeles Airport at around 9:20 a.m. PST on Friday, then returned to fire a second round of shots later, officials said.
Hernandez suffered gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen and was declared dead upon arrival at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
Friends and family painted a portrait of the El Salvador native as a loving father of two, who often played outside with his children.
"It was shocking. Very nice guy. I'm just speechless. I'm shocked," neighbor Tatiana told KABC.
Tatiana said she once received a door knock from Hernandez after his home was robbed to warn her own family to stay safe.
"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," she said.
"I was very surprised. He's an ordinary guy trying to help support his family and working for the TSA," said another neighbor, Ken Wong. "He's just trying to work for the country. This is just a tragedy,"
Hernandez, who had worked for the TSA since 2010, was a behavioral detection officer, assigned to identify passengers acting strangely. He was the first TSA employee to be killed in the line of duty since the association was formed following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
"He was always excited to go to work and enjoyed the interaction with the passengers at LAX," said Ana Hernandez. "He was a joyful person, always smiling. He took pride in his duty for the American public and for the TSA mission."
Two other TSA officers were among the six victims killed or injured during Friday's shooting, officials said.
"No words can explain the horror that we experienced," TSA Administrator John Pistole said in a statement.
Pistole flew to the Hernandez family home one day after the incident to offer his support.
"It is something with deep regret that we are offering these condolences," he said.
KABC's Matt Foster contributed to this report.
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- Family & Relationships
- Ana Hernandez
- Los Angeles Airport