LAX airport blasts suspect pleads not guilty

Print
Email
|

Associated Press

Posted on October 17, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 17 at 4:36 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A baggage handler accused of setting off dry ice bottle blasts at Los Angeles International Airport pleaded not guilty Thursday to two charges of possessing a destructive device in a public place.

Dicarlo Bennett, 28, an employee of an airport service company, could face up to six years in prison if convicted.

Bennett said little beyond acknowledging his name during a brief hearing before Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz.

Police said he set off the blasts Sunday for his own amusement in areas of the airport accessible only to employees.

He was ordered held on $1 million bail. Another hearing to review his bail was set for Oct. 23.

Investigators believe the bombs were set "out of a desire to construct and experience a device exploding," said Los Angeles police Lt. John Karle. He called it foolish and negligent behavior.

Police primarily relied on interviews with witnesses and physical evidence but also reviewed surveillance video before arresting Bennett.

Airport officials changed their policy on how dry ice is discarded after an abandoned container of dry ice from a plane was used to fashion and explode the bombs.

The airport will now require employees to return dry ice — often used to keep food fresh — to a warehouse and not leave it out on the tarmac, said Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon.

Airport officials plan to meet with law enforcement authorities in the coming days to examine other potential security enhancements at one of the nation's busiest airports.

Cameras cover some of these restricted-access areas, but Downing said there isn't as much camera coverage as in public-access areas.

The union representing police at LAX said the incident highlights the need for the installation of more security cameras at the airport.

___

AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch contributed to this report.

___

Tami Abdollah can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/latams

Print
Email
|