Source: Two of 10 panic buttons at LAX Terminal 3 were not working on Nov. 1

Police stand outside Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.  (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Police stand outside Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Two of 10 panic buttons at the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Terminal 3 of Los Angeles International Airport were not working on Nov. 1, though that discrepancy probably had no effect on police response, a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation said Thursday.

The buttons are designed for an emergency. TSA workers are supposed to hit them when they are in danger to ensure a rapid police response. But the law enforcement official said data shows TSA officials failed to hit any of the eight working buttons, probably because they were fleeing the area so quickly. That may suggest nothing would have changed had the two other buttons been operational.

On Nov. 1 at around 9 a.m., police say that gunman Paul Ciancia entered the terminal and started firing at TSA agents near the checkpoint. He is accused of killing TSA screener Gerardo Hernandez and wounding three others. Federal prosecutors are now deciding whether to seek the death penalty against him.

The law enforcement source said TSA agents were aware that at least one of the buttons was not working at the time of the incident. The second one did not work when it was tested after the incident.

A TSA supervisor did use a special phone line to ring directly to an airport police dispatcher, the source said. The phone call was brief, as the caller quickly fled to escape the gunman, according to the source.

Reached Thursday, Los Angeles-based TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said he could not comment on an ongoing investigation.

LAX is expected to produce an after-action report soon. The public will be able to read it, but it will not include what is called “security sensitive” information.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Reddit Tumblr Email

LAX: to make connections easier, American and US Airways will operate shuttle bus inside security

US Airways is expecting to move to Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport next week, leaving Terminal 1, which it has shared with Southwest Airlines.

I’m being told that Feb. 12 is the targeted move date. I’ll update if that changes.

American Airlines, which is merging with US Airways, has printed up posters in an attempt to make things easier for travelers. Here’s the good news: American and US Airways will run shuttle buses inside the secure area of the airport to facilitate connections between the two airlines. This means passengers won’t have to re-clear security to switch airlines. The buses will leave every 20 minutes.

That’s a big deal, because American’s Terminal 4 and US Airways’ Terminal 3 are not particularly close to one another, despite the numbering scheme. There’s also no way to walk from one terminal to the other without re-clearing security.

Here are posters you’ll see soon at Terminal 3 and Terminal 4.

American-US Airways 2

American-US Airways 1

Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Reddit Tumblr Email

LAX Security: Interview with airport police chief Patrick Gannon (Part 1)

policwe

Police gather outside of Terminal 3 at LAX on Nov. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Patrick Gannon is chief of the Los Angeles World Airports police, which puts him in charge of security at Los Angeles International Airport, Van Nuys Airport and L.A./Ontario International Airport. We met Monday for an interview.

Part 1 of the interview here focuses on the Nov. 1 incident at LAX, in which a gunman attacked Transportation Security Administration officers at Terminal 3, killing Gerardo Hernandez  and injuring several others. Part 2 — available on Wednesday — deals with the overall challenges of policing at LAX.

Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Linkedin Reddit Tumblr Email