LOS ANGELES — Minutes before a gunman opened fire in a Los Angeles International Airport terminal last fall, killing a security screener and wounding three other people, the two armed officers assigned to the area left for breaks without informing a dispatcher as required.
As terrified travelers dived for cover, TSA officers — who are unarmed — fled the screening area without hitting a panic button or using a landline to call for help. It took a call from an airline contractor to a police dispatcher, who then alerted officers over the radio — a lag of nearly a minute and a half, the officials said.
When the shooting started, the two officials say one of the armed officers assigned to the terminal was at or just outside an adjacent terminal. One of the officials said the officer was on a bathroom break and the other foot-beat officer was in a vehicle on the tarmac outside Terminal 3, headed for a meal break.