2002 Los Angeles International Airport shooting

On July 4, 2002, a lone gunman opened fire at the ticket counter of El Al, Israel's national airline, at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, United States. In the terrorist attack, two people were killed, and four others were injured before an El Al security guard fatally shot the gunman.

2002 Los Angeles International Airport shooting
LocationLos Angeles International Airport, California, United States
DateJuly 4, 2002
11:30 a.m. (PDT)
TargetPassengers and employees of Israeli airline El Al
Attack type
Mass shooting, terrorism
Deaths3 (including the perpetrator)
Injured5 (4 from gunfire)
PerpetratorHesham Mohamed Hadayet
MotiveTo influence U.S. government policy in favor of the Palestinians

Attack edit

Check-in counters at the LAX terminal, where the incident happened

On July 4, 2002, at around 11:30 a.m., a lone gunman approached the El Al ticket counter inside the Tom Bradley International Terminal at the Los Angeles International Airport, pulled out two Glock pistols and started shooting at the 90 passengers standing in the line. Initially, the assailant killed 25-year-old Customer Service Agent Victoria Hen, standing behind the counter, with a gunshot to the chest. Later, the assailant opened fire at the passengers as they huddled nearby and killed 46-year-old bystander Yaakov Aminov. In addition, he injured four other bystanders.

The terrorist used a .45-caliber handgun in the shooting. In addition, he had a 9 mm handgun, a 6-inch knife and extra magazines with ammunition for both guns.[1]

After the gunman fired ten bullets at the crowd, one of El Al's security guards, who was unarmed, managed to knock him down. Meanwhile, El Al's security officer, Chaim Sapir, ran to the scene but was stabbed by the assailant with a knife. Despite this, Sapir managed to draw his pistol and shoot the gunman in the chest, killing him.[2][3]

Perpetrator edit

Hesham Mohamed Hadayet (July 4, 1961 – July 4, 2002), a 41-year-old Egyptian national, was identified as the assailant. He emigrated to the United States in 1992, arriving on a tourist visa but applied for political asylum. The Immigration and Naturalization Service denied his asylum request in 1995, but the Post Office returned a letter notifying him as undeliverable. No further efforts appear to have been made to locate and deport him.[4] Shortly before his scheduled 1997 deportation, his wife won the Diversity Immigrant Visa lottery, enabling both to become legal residents.[5]

In Egypt, he had been arrested for being a member of Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, an Islamist group. He denied the accusation to U.S. immigration authorities. He said he was a member of Asad ibn al-Furat Mosque Association, a group that aimed to "understand truly and apply Islamic law in the 20th century under any circumstances."[4]

Hadayet had a green card (through the Diversity Visa Lottery), which allowed him to work as a limousine driver and to apply for United States citizenship after five years. He was married and had at least one child. At the time of the shooting, Hadayet was living in Irvine, California. He committed the shooting on his 41st birthday.[1][6][7]

Aftermath edit

In September 2002, federal investigators concluded that Hadayet hoped to influence U.S. government policy in favor of the Palestinians and that the incident was a terrorist act.[8]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Feldman, Charles (July 5, 2002). "Los Angeles airport shooting kills 3". CNN. Los Angeles, California. Archived from the original on December 4, 2004.
  2. ^ התקפת יריות על דלפק אל-על בלוס אנג'לס [An attack on the Los Angeles ticket counter]. Yedioth Internet (in Hebrew). Ynet and agencies. July 6, 2002. Archived from the original on October 14, 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
  3. ^ Blankstein, Andrew (July 7, 2002). "LAX Assailant Died of Abdominal Gunshot Wound". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 24, 2015. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Arena, Kelly (September 25, 2002). "INS: Airport gunman spoke of terrorism allegation in '92 interview". CNN. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  5. ^ Ramirez, Eddy (October 2, 2012). "Panel Probes LAX Gunman Terrorism: House lawmakers say closer scrutiny by INS might have prevented killings by Egyptian immigrant". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  6. ^ "Diversity visa program: What you need to know". Fox News. November 1, 2017. Archived from the original on November 1, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  7. ^ Sacchetti, Maria (November 1, 2017). "Here's what you need to know about the Diversity Visa Lottery Program". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 1, 2017. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  8. ^ "FBI, Justice: El Al attack was terrorism". CNN. April 12, 2003. Archived from the original on February 3, 2007. Retrieved December 2, 2008.

33°56′31″N 118°24′50″W / 33.942°N 118.414°W / 33.942; -118.414