Los Angeles was not a prime target in the events of September 11, 2001. But as things unveiled themselves after the attacks that day, it became a secondary target for terrorist events. The attack occurred on a Monday morning at Los Angeles International Airport. What allowed this to occur was poor planning by officials and inadequate security at the terminals.
The structure and format of LAX was also used against the city by the performers of the attack. This was due to the fact that both public and private vehicles were allowed to approach the terminals instead of tram access only. From the check-in counters, people were able to clearly see the traffic moving by as well as the vehicles parked curbside. This is still true today.
For several months that followed the events of September 11, only taxis, buses, and limos were allowed to enter the airport and approach the terminals. But eventually, around the time of late April of the following year, private vehicles were once again allowed to enter the airport and make their way to the terminals.
At this time, vehicles had to go through a checkpoint before they were able to approach the terminals. Even though many vehicles were stopped and searched, one managed to pass through without being molested while carrying questionable materials and questionable intentions. It was this oversight that led to a post-9/11 terrorist attack to occur. It was also the worst terrorist attack to occur in Los Angeles history to that point.
The perpetrators of this attack were four young men who had no outstanding physical features to draw the eyes and attention of the authorities. The vehicle of choice was an old Plymouth Voyager. This vehicle was chosen because of the large sliding door on the passenger side of the van as well as the two bench seats inside that had the option of being removed.
For what they had in mind, the perpetrators decided to remove the second bench seat. This increased the cargo area in the back and allowed the perpetrators to move quickly and effectively to their equipment when the time was right to do so. They also installed hooks that allowed them to establish a harness system next to the sliding door when the time was right. Once they made it through security, the passengers in the back got up and started to assemble the Gatling gun they had with them as well as the harness system and the mount. Once assembled, the Gatling gun was placed next to the sliding door of the van.
As the gun was being assembled, the driver of the van and the passenger sitting shotgun were looking for a target. The driver took them to the upper level roadway, where the departure area of the airport is located. With the situation as it was, the perpetrators had a greater chance of doing the most damage on the departure level than on the arrival level. Also, more people tend to depart an airport in the morning then arrive. The masses avoid red eye flights.
As they traveled past the terminals, it was decided that Terminal 1 would be their target. Terminal 1 had always managed to be crowded. In addition to this, the line of passengers who were waiting to get through security snaked its way out of the terminal building and stretched halfway to Terminal 2. This made them a perfect target for an attack.
If security was more effective and wasn’t manned by incompetent people, this type of attack wouldn’t have happened. It was through poor city planning and because of conscious human incompetence that allowed this type of attack to occur. And because of a poor learning curve that exists in America, this type of attack has a good chance of occurring again.
Using the overpass on the departure level that completes the loop, allowing drivers to make their way back to Terminal 1 after driving around the airport, the perpetrators made their way back to Terminal 1. Once they made it back to Terminal 1, the driver pulled over to the loading zone. There, he made sure that the Gatling gun was setup and ready to go. The passenger in shotgun was also handed a submachine gun to aid in the assault. The driver then made sure that everyone knew what the target was going to be.
With everyone aware of their intended target, the driver pulled forward and reached the security line. As he did, the driver positioned the van next to the curb. This allowed the shooters to have an easier target when they opened fire. The passenger who was riding shotgun also rolled down his window.
Once they reached the security line, the sliding door on the side of the van was pulled open as the passenger riding shotgun reached out through the window, holding the submachine gun. Once the guns cleared the van, they opened fire upon the crowd. The driver then accelerated, allowing the shooters to hit as many people as they could.
When the smoke had cleared and the assault was over, dozens of people had been killed and even more injured. Among the casualties were all four of the perpetrators. Two had died from injuries they received at the scene, one was left in a vegetative state, and the fourth was left with some cuts and bruises accompanied by a broken leg. Since he was the only person left that was able to be prosecuted for the crime, the state went after him with a vengeance and was able to obtain a conviction, though he is doing what he can to overturn the decision.
To this day, he has never said a word about why they decided to carryout this attack.