Lone Gunman’s Attack at LAX

A young man from NJ tried to make a go of it in California-but apparently could not.

He seemed to his family to be disturbed, and was sending long, rambling anti-government texts.

The following is a brief summary from START – a program initiated by Dept. of Homeland Security.

Sheet: Armed assault at LAX

Armed Assault at Los Angeles International Airport

On Nov. 1, 2013, a gunman opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), reportedly motivated by anti-government sentiment and targeting Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers. To provide context for this attack, START has compiled relevant facts and figures from the Global Terrorism Database.   Since 1970 there have been four terrorist attacks at LAX:

  •  07/04/2002: Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, an Egyptian-born man, opened fired at the El Al Israeli Airlines ticket counter, killing two people and wounding four others before he was killed by security personnel.
  • 05/30/1982: The Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) planted an explosive device at the Air Canada freight terminal. The device was defused and no casualties were reported.
  • 01/22/1980: Unknown perpetrators bombed the China Airlines luggage area. No casualties were reported.
  • 08/06/1974: Muharem Kurbegovic, also known as “Isak (Isaac) Rasim” or the “alphabet bomber,” detonated explosives the Pan American terminal, killing three people, injuring 36 others, and causing considerable damage.

There have been more than 2,600 terrorist attacks in the United States between 1970 and 2012. More than half of these attacks took place in the 1970s.   Only 72 terrorist attacks in the United States (2.7%) targeted airports and airlines. The vast majority of the attacks targeting airports and airlines were bombings or attempted bombings (72.2%), 19.4 percent were hijackings or attempted hijackings, and only three of these attacks were classified as armed assaults like the one at LAX on Nov. 1.   Since 1970, relatively few terrorist attacks in the United States (13.0%) have involved firearms. However, of those attacks that involved firearms, 46 percent resulted in at least one fatality, compared to only 6.7 percent of attacks that did not involve firearms.   Worldwide, 74 terrorist attacks classified as armed assaults against airports and airlines were carried out between 1970 and 2012, 1.8 per year on average.   Armed assaults against airports and airlines took place in 42 different countries, most commonly in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, and Western Europe. The most lethal of these attacks took place on 02/17/2002 in Nepal, when Maoist rebels attacked an airport in Sanphebaga, killing 27 Nepalese policemen.


This Fact Sheet was funded through START by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Office of University Programs through Award Number 2012-ST-061-CS0001, CSTAB 3.1. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the author and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or START.   Erin Miller is the primary author of this report. Questions should be directed to eemiller@umd.edu.

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