Bakersfield man came face-to-face with LAX shooter

SALT LAKE CITY - A Salt Lake County woman says it's a miracle her own sister and brother-in-law were not killed in the LAX shooting.

Kathy Jensen said her brother-in-law actually came face-to-face with the gunman.

"It was frightening," said Jensen, "This is involving my family."

Just after the shooting. Kathy got a call from her sister Lisa Despain.

Lisa and her husband Rex, from Bakersfield, Calif., were on their way to Cancun for vacation.

They had just gotten their boarding passes and were heading towards security lines when suddenly shots rang out.

"Oh my gosh! Somebody is shooting in the airport," said Lisa Despain in a phone interview from the LAX Airport with 2News' Dan Rascon. "Then there is a shot that shatters everything behind the TSA Agent."

Lisa said she and her husband Rex ran up an escalator and tried and hide.

"So I got under the podium and I'm watching my husband," said Lisa.

The gunman then came up the escalator right towards them while her husband was still standing.

"(Rex's) face turns gray and he looks at me and he says, 'Lisa I'm a dead man,'" she said.

The gunman then pointed his assault rifle at Rex's chest.

"He had pointed the gun at my husband and had asked him if he was TSA. When Rex said, 'no,' he passed him by," she said.

Lisa said the shooter then rounded the corner and she heard more shots.

Rex told Lisa, "When I saw him come toward us I stood up knowing that I would probably be shot but I didn't want him to see you," said Lisa as she broke down with emotion on the phone.

"All we can say is because it wasn't his time. You're righteous, you're living your life how you are supposed to and had it been your time you would have been dead, but it's not your time."

She said her husband was literally, "looking death in the face."

For Kathy and her family, it's an experience they will never forget.

"When these things happen you never think that it's going to happen to someone in your family," said Jensen. "We feel it was a miracle that he and my sister were protected."

Lisa says she and her husband may have also been one of the last people to see the TSA agent who was killed, alive.

After their encounter with the gunman she said they looked down at the bottom of the escalator and saw the TSA agent lying motionless on the floor.

A woman who was next to the agent told them the gunman had shot him three times.

Rex said he was too emotional to talk about his experience.


Information in this report comes from KBAK/KBFX's sister station, KUTV.