Police officer from Downey earns Medal of Valor

DOWNEY – Downey resident Brian S. Lopez, a LAX police officer, has been awarded the Medal of Valor for his actions Nov. 1, 2013, when a man opened fire at the airport, killing a TSA agent. Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, began shooting inside Terminal 3 of Los Angeles International Airport, killing TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez. Airport Police were dispatched within 60 seconds of the shooting.

“Without hesitation, the six responding officers went into ‘active-shooter formation’ and moved quickly towards the ongoing threat,” authorities said. “The six officers tactically organized a diamond formation, moving down the concourse into the danger zone, trying to distinguish possible accomplices among hundreds of passengers. The officers split into two groups of three and entered from opposite sides into the area where the shooter was located.

“The shooter was more than two-thirds down the concourse, next to the boarding gates. The officers confronted him and exchanged gun fire. Due to the six officers quick and decisive actions, the shooter was neutralized and taken into custody within four minutes after the initial ‘shots fired’ radio call...The actions of these officers prevented the shooter from further injuring or fatally wounding hundreds of airport personnel and travelers.”

“Due to the heroics and quick action of Lopez and his fellow officers, no one else was harmed.”

Lopez and five other officers were presented the California Governor’s Medal of Valor, the California Peace Officers Association’s Award of Valor, and the Los Angeles Airport Medal of Valor.

“I am very humbled to have received the Medal of Valor along with my fellow officers,” Lopez said. “It was all in the line of duty.”

“This award not only is a tribute to each of these officers, it’s also a tribute to all our Airport Police and our agency,” Chief Patrick Gannon said. “I am incredibly proud of each and every one of the recipients of this prestigious award. Their actions on November 1st were and went above and beyond what they are charged with handling each day. Their bravery in the face of chaos was admirable and I am proud to serve with officers of their caliber.”

Lopez has served seven years with Airport Police and is currently assigned to the Vulnerability Analysis.

He lives in Downey with his wife, Crystal, son Elijah, and a baby girl, named Autumn, due in January.

He is the son of Adele Castallon, a Downey resident and employee at Downey Federal Credit Union, and Reynaldo Lopez, a Commerce resident.



Published: Nov. 27, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 33