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POLITICS: PennAve

Mike McCaul: Very difficult to stop killers like LAX gunman

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Homeland Security,PennAve,Joseph Lawler,Economy,Michael McCaul

There's no clear way to stop shooters like the one that killed a TSA agent at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul said Sunday morning.

The Texas Republican told Candy Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union" that authorities in Los Angeles missed Paul Anthony Ciancia, the suspect in the airport shooting, by a "matter of minutes." Ciancia's relatives in New Jersey had warned officials that the 23 year-old exhibited signs of mental illness and suicidal tendencies in emails. But law enforcement officers arrived at Ciancia's residence about 45 minutes after he had left to attack the airport Friday morning, McCaul said.

Paying attention to warnings like those that came from Ciancia's family are the way to prevent crimes even though the police narrowly failed to catch Ciancia this time, McCaul explained, saying that once he arrived at the airport with the apparent intent of being killed, there was little that could be done to stop him.

"It's very difficult to protect" areas like LAX, said McCaul, comparing the airport's layout to an "open shopping mall."

Every airport is different, McCaul said, explaining that improving security would come through better coordination between the TSA, whose officers at airports are not armed, and local law enforcement.

McCaul said that he would work with TSA administration John Pistole to improve coordination between the TSA's Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams and local police for future incidents like the one that took place Friday, resulting in the death of TSA officer Gerardo I. Hernandez.

"That said, it’s very difficult to stop these kinds of attacks," warned McCaul.

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