LOS ANGELES — The Fort Lauderdale Airport shooter gave his first public statement since the January 2017 incident when he shot and killed five people and injured six more. Notably, prosecutors revealed that the shooter had researched the layout of the Los Angeles International Airport three days prior to the shooting in Florida. His intentions behind researching LAX have not been disclosed.
It has been nearly five years since a shooter killed and injured multiple people at LAX in November 2013. Since then, changes have taken place at LAX and there has been a seismic shift in the role and importance of policing and security at the airport — mostly due to LAWA’s new CEO, Deborah Flint. However, we must stay vigilant. We must make sure we are not susceptible to the same impediments that may have deterred the November 2013 shooter sooner. Most of all, we must be aware that the threat is real and at any moment our airport can be attacked by those wishing to cause harm.
In this regard, Deputy Executive Director for Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Patrick Gannon has also supported changes. We encourage Deputy Executive Director Gannon to continue to review important safety and security measures, such as reconsidering stationing an LAXPD officer within 300 feet of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security screening checkpoints. The combination of CEO Flint and Deputy Executive Director Gannon is one that has been reflective and open to discussions of necessary changes to security at the airport since the November 2013 LAX shooting.
This week’s revelation that the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooter had an interest in choosing LAX as his target in the days leading up to the shooting in Florida is an important reminder of why our attention on police staffing, equipment and safety at LAX can never wane — not even for a day.
“Our police officers were made aware this week that the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooter clearly had an interest in LAX,” says Marshall McClain, president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association. “We must remain diligent and steadfast in protecting LAX from those who wish to inflict harm. It is very sobering to think that we may have been the alternate target for this mass killer who caused such devastation.”