UPDATE 1-Report faults police response to Los Angeles airport shooting

Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:27pm EDT

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(Adds details from report)

By Dana Feldman and Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES, March 18 (Reuters) - A review of a deadly shooting that killed a federal security officer at Los Angeles International Airport in November faulted law enforcement agencies for communication lapses during the initial response, a report showed on Tuesday.

While praising the heroism of individual officers, the report by Los Angeles World Airports said communications were cumbersome because radio systems used by airport police were largely incompatible with those used by other agencies.

As a result, the inquiry found, communications between airport police and other law enforcement officials were limited to a single access channel.

"Unfortunately, a single point of communication across all of those agencies is not sufficient to manage a large-scale multi-agency event such as the one on Nov. 1," the 83-page report said.

Authorities say Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, walked into Terminal 3 of the airport that day carrying a semi-automatic rifle and opened fire, killing the federal security officer and wounding three other people.

Ciancia, who was wounded by gunfire from police following the shooting rampage, was taken into custody at the scene.

He has been charged with the murder and attempted murder of federal officers, as well as committing acts of violence at an international airport and firearms offenses. In January, a federal judge postponed his trial while prosecutors consider whether to seek the death penalty.

The review of the emergency response to the shooting cited poor coordination between command posts and a lack of communication with the general public in the hours following the shooting, a criticism echoed by Mayor Eric Garcetti at a news conference following the release of the document.

"There was a real lack of communicating with the traveling public that day. I know that everybody was concerned with the safety at that terminal, but they are not mutually exclusive," Garcetti said.

According to the report, it took 45 minutes after the first airport police supervisor arrived on the scene before a unified command structure was established and 90 minutes before the first meeting between commanders of various agencies.

"The (incident command post) structure did not ever fully mature and this, along with a lack of radio interoperability, caused gaps in interagency coordination," the report said.

"These challenges were intensified by a lack of familiarity with terminology and airport layout among some LAPD and LAFD responders," it added. (Reporting by Dana Feldman and Dan Whitcomb; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Tom Brown and Cynthia Osterman)

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