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Congress OKs Death Benefits for TSA Agent Killed in LAX Shooting

Gerardo Hernandez, 39, was the first TSA officer to die in the line of duty.

Gerardo Hernandez. Photo courtesy of the Hernandez.
Gerardo Hernandez. Photo courtesy of the Hernandez.

The House Appropriations Committee Wednesday approved a legislative amendment that would provide federal death benefits to the family of a Transportation Security Administration officer who was killed in a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport.

Gerardo Hernandez, 39, was killed Nov. 1 when a gunman opened fire in Terminal 3. Three other people were wounded.

Hernandez was the first TSA officer to die in the line of duty.

The legislation would provide Hernandez's family with the same death benefits provided to the families of other federal law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty.

"These benefits will be a great help to his wife and the couple's young children," said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles. "Not only was today's vote an important moment for the Hernandez family, I also believe it sends a powerful message to our nation's homeland security personnel that we value their service and honor their sacrifices."

The proposal was attached to the House 2015 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill.

Meanwhile, the House Homeland Security Committee approved legislation known as the Hernandez Airport Security Act, which requires airports to have plans in place to respond to emergencies such as active shooters, acts of terrorism and attacks targeting passenger-screening checkpoints.

The bill now moves to the House floor.

"The security failures at LAX, which were tragically revealed during the shooting, are simply unacceptable," said Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles. "Congress must make certain they are never repeated."

A report commissioned by the city after the November shooting found a series of problems with the emergency response, including lapses in communication between agencies that rely on a variety of radio frequencies.

— City News Service

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