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Serious Errors Found in LAX Shooting Communication and Response


LOS ANGELES (AP) — A report on the emergency response to a shooting last year at Los Angeles International Airport, which left a security screener dead, cites serious shortcomings in communication between agencies that left major commanders in the dark and a long lag in establishing a coordinated response.

JEMS LAX Shooting Coverage

An early copy of the report to be presented Tuesday to airport commissioners was obtained by The Associated Press. Nothing has been blacked out for security reasons in the single report that will be presented, airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles said.

Before the presentation, Mayor Eric Garcetti planned to hold a news conference highlighting the findings.

The lengthy report cites the "heroism" of officers who shot and took suspect Paul Ciancia into custody after he'd killed a Transportation Security Administration officer and injured three people on Nov. 1.

But it details lapses in coordination and technology between police and fire departments, which set up multiple command posts at different locations that didn't unify for 45 minutes. The first meeting among commanders didn't occur until more than 1½ hours after the shooting began.

The report says police and fire officials were hindered by incompatible radio systems that prevented airport police from communicating. Meanwhile, senior police and fire commanders arriving on scene had no idea where to go or what the others were doing. There was nearly no communication between the command post officials and those in the airport's emergency operations center, which the report described as being staffed by untrained mid-level managers.

Fire officials concerned by how close the incident command post was to the initial shooting site originally set up their own command post, which hampered the ability to coordinate with law enforcement and to get victims out of the terminal. Airport police had to send two teams of marksmen on top of parking structures to protect the command post amid initial worries of additional shooters.

JEMS, Eagles Conference: Communication Is Key for EMS Response to Active Shooter Incidents (Heightman, MPA, EMT-P)

Authorities say Ciancia, 24, targeted TSA officers in his attack. Ciancia has pleaded not guilty to 11 federal charges, including murder of a federal officer.

The report cites a number of lessons learned, including some 50 recommendations, and ominously warns: "Had the attacker not been highly selective in his targets, and/or had there been multiple attackers with weapons of greater lethality, the outcome might have been far different."


Tami Abdollah can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/latams

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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