L.A. Airport Gunman Identified As Egyptian Immigrant
On the Fourth of July holiday, Hadayet opened fire at the LAX ticket counter of the Israeli national airline El Al, killing two and wounding several others. He was subsequently shot and killed by an El Al security guard.
According to the FBI, the gunman used a .45-caliber handgun in the shooting, and was also armed with a 9-mm pistol and a six-inch hunting knife.
In the shootout, Hadayet killed 25-year-old El Al employee Victoria Hen and 46-year-old Jacob Aminov, who was waiting at the ticket counter.
A 61-year-old Canadian woman was shot in the ankle and a male victim was treated for injuries received from being pistol-whipped. The El Al security guard who finally shot Hadayet was also treated for a knife-wound.
The gunman was not carrying personal identification with him when he entered the airport Thursday. Authorities identified him some eight hours later, from information found in his car in the airport parking lot.
FBI officials said the Egyptian native possessed two California driver’s licenses, one identifying him as Hesham Mohamed Hadayet and the other as Hesham Mohamed Ali. The licenses also listed two different birth dates — April 7, 1961, and July 4, 1961 — the FBI said.
After finding Hadayet’s identification materials, federal agents and police searched his home in nearby Irvine, where he lived with his wife and two sons and ran a limousine service. Authorities emerged from his home carrying several boxes of potential evidence.
Hadayet’s neighbors described the family as quiet but friendly, telling investigators the family was spending the summer in Egypt.
Egyptian police interviewed Hadayet’s father in his apartment in Cairo early Friday, the building’s security guards told the Associated Press.
According to Hassan Mostafa Mahfouz, the husband of Hadayet’s aunt, the suspect’s parents and two children were also in the apartment when Egyptian police entered the building. Mahfouz also told the Associated Press that Egyptian intelligence took the alleged shooter’s wife and sister away for questioning.
While the FBI has not determined Hadayet’s motive for the airport shooting, the bureau said there was no evidence connecting him to any terrorist group. Last night, the FBI said they believed it was an “isolated incident,” suggesting it might be a hate crime.
Israel yesterday condemned the shooting, calling it a terrorist attack.
“The way it was conducted was very much similar to previous attacks at El Al [ticket] counters throughout European countries. And therefore given this history we presume that it may be, and would appear to be, a terrorist attack,” Israel’s Consul General Yuval Rotem said.