LAX shooting victim: 'I've never been afraid like that'
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High school teacher Brian Ludmer, shot once by a gunman at Los Angeles International Airport last week, thought for sure the shooter would come back to finish the job.
“I expected to be shot again,” he recalled in a TODAY segment that aired Wednesday. “I’ve never been afraid like that.”
A gunman armed with a semiautomatic rifle entered the airport last Friday. He shot several people, including Ludmer, 29, and killed a Transportation Security Administration officer. Police eventually shot the suspect, Paul Anthony Ciancia, who remains under guard in a hospital.
Ludmer said he was in line for the metal detector when shots erupted just yards away. Chaos immediately ensued.
"It was panic, and most people tried to run sort of into the terminal, through the metal detectors, kind of away from the ticketing gate and escalators where the shots were coming from,” he told NBC News' Miguel Almaguer in an interview conducted from his hospital room at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Ludmer sprinted down a hallway inside Terminal 3 but couldn’t find a place to hide before he was shot.
"I don't even remember hearing the shot distinctly, but I remember feeling it,” he said. “I just collapsed, down to my knees."
Ludmer said he found a room to crawl into but feared the gunman would have no problem finding him.
"I must have left a trail of blood. There was so much blood in the room,” he said.
Ludmer tied a tourniquet around his leg before emergency medics could reach him after authorities took the suspect into custody. As he was rushed to the hospital, he learned that three TSA officers had been shot. Ludmer feels extremely lucky to have survived.
"Oh, very much so,” he said. “As bad as it was, it could have been worse."
His family has set up a fund to help pay for his medical bills and has already raised more than $30,000 out of their $100,000 goal.