A high school teacher who grew up in Lake Forest faces at least one more surgery after he was shot in the leg last week at Los Angeles International Airport, according to hospital officials.
Brian Ludmer, 29, will need surgery for a fractured leg as well as extensive physical therapy, the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center said.
The suspected shooter, identified by police as 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia, remained in critical condition. He was wounded by LAX police as he shot his way through Terminal 3 shortly after 9 a.m. Friday, authorities said. Ciancia was shot in the head and a leg.
Transportation Security Administration agent Gerardo Hernandez, 39, was killed and at least two other agency employees and a civilian were wounded by gunfire.
Authorities have filed a murder charge against Ciancia and suggested that he specifically targeted TSA agents. Ciancia was carrying a handwritten note in his duffel bag that said he wanted to “instill fear into their traitorous minds,” according to one federal official.
“His intent was very clear in his note,” the official said.
If convicted, Ciancia faces life in prison without parole, or possibly the death penalty.
Ludmer, the theater technical director at Calabasas High School in Los Angeles, was on his way to celebrate a friend’s wedding for the weekend when he heard gunshots and "people were running everywhere," said Las Virgenes schools Supt. Dan Stepenosky.
As the gunman took aim, Ludmer turned to run and dived away, but he was struck at least once in the leg, Stepenosky said. He dragged himself into a closet, closed the door and hunkered down, fearing the worst.
"He really assumed he was not going to make it," Stepenosky said.
The performing arts teacher managed to create a makeshift tourniquet to help slow the bleeding, using "his old Boy Scouts training," Stepenosky told NBC Los Angeles.
Ludmer waited until he heard what he believed was a police officer outside the closet. He cracked open the door, peeked out and was rushed by the officer into a waiting ambulance.
Word of Ludmer's injuries somehow reached his parents in Chicago. They, in turn, called Calabasas High, alerting a couple of Ludmer's colleagues in the performing arts department.
"They said he was involved in a shooting," Stepenosky said. "So the teachers and the principal went to the hospital right away."
Ludmer graduated from Lake Forest High School in 2002 and attended the University of Illinois, where he graduated in 2006, according to his Facebook page.
Calabasas Principal C.J. Foss and two teachers held vigil at the hospital while Ludmer's mother made her way to Los Angeles to be at her son's side, Stepenosky said.
Ludmer told the Calabasas Courier last year that he studied technical theater at the University of Illinois and taught stagecraft at Cal State Long Beach.
He joined the Calabasas faculty about 18 months ago, shortly before the high school opened a state-of-the-art performing arts center.
In the Calabasas Courier interview, Ludmer said he was excited by the opportunity to introduce students to professional-caliber facilities.
In his short tenure, Stepenosky said, he "has already had a huge impact on the students and the program."