Discuss as:

Wife of LAX shooting victim: He 'took pride' in TSA mission

Ana Hernandez married her husband on Valentine's Day 15 years ago, and said her husband, who was allegedly killed by a gunman at Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday, was "a joyful person, always smiling." NBC's Miguel Almaguer reports.

The widow of a Transportation Security Administration agent killed in a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport remembered her husband on Saturday as a “great man” who loved his family and took pride in his work.

Courtesy Hernandez Family / AP

This photo released by the Hernandez family Saturday shows Transportation Security Administration officer Gerardo Hernandez. Hernandez, 39.

Ana Hernandez told reporters outside her home that she and her husband, Gerardo I. Hernandez, met as teenagers and got married on Valentine's Day in 1998.

"We met in 1994, I was 16 and he was 19, and we have been together ever since," she said. The couple had two children together.

"Gerardo was a great man who always showed love for our family," Ana Hernandez said, adding that her husband would have turned 40 next week.

Hernandez is the first TSA agent to die in the line of duty in the agency's 12-year history. 

Authorities identified the gunman as Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, of Los Angeles, who was shot in the chest by law enforcement during the attack Friday and hospitalized in critical condition.

Clues on a possible motive for the armed assault at LAX emerged Saturday, with reports indicating the suspect was carrying a “manifesto” associated with the antigovernment “patriot” movement and a note saying he intended to murder at least one TSA officer.

Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP

Ana Hernandez, wife of Gerardo Hernandez, victim of the LAX shooting, during a press conference in Porter Ranch, Calif., on Saturday Nov. 2, 2013.

John Pistole, TSA administrator, visited to Ana Hernandez’s home to express his condolences and offer support. The widow said her late husband was proud of his work with the agency.

"He was always excited to go to work," she said. "He was a joyful person, he took pride in his duty for the American public and for the TSA mission."

The youngest of four brothers, Hernandez was born in El Salvador and moved to the United States when he was 15.

"I’m truly devastated,” Ana Hernandez said. “We are all heartbroken. We will miss him dearly.”

Related stories