Fort Lauderdale airport shooting reignites 'soft target' concerns

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There was a boost in Philadelphia police presence at Philadelphia International Airport Friday - a direct response to the fatal shooting in Fort Lauderdale. (WPVI)

There was a boost in Philadelphia police presence at Philadelphia International Airport Friday - a direct response to the fatal shooting in Fort Lauderdale.

"You will see increased patrols of airport police at the arrival road, departure road, ticketing and baggage claim just so people feel that presence around them," said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan.

Philadelphia's chief inspector for Homeland Security says the airport is under no known threat. The extra officers and detection dogs are precautionary and there to reassure passengers like the Rosenberg family.

"I think it gives you piece of mind to see police presence, people in authority carrying guns. I think that's a good thing," said Evan Rosenberg of Lower Merion.

The added security won't last, and the shooting highlights the vulnerabilities of airports' departure and arrival halls. Both massive "soft targets" that the shooter exploited.

"Passengers do have guns in their luggage. They're allowed to check guns through security. These go through a scanner. There's an X-ray taken of the weapon," said Jack Tomarchio, terrorism expert and former Homeland Security deputy.

Tomarchio says there's little security planners can do within reason to stop attacks.

Replying on intelligence to thwart them is more realistic than widening security zones.

"The attackers never go away, and they're always looking for that weakness in our defenses. A chink in the armor so to speak, and here we had that," said Tomarchio.

Passengers who say they're already burdened with long waits are apprehensive about adding new security measures.

"I think it would make things complicated to be honest with you," said Alycia Murtha from McDonough, Georgia.

"I'm trying to move as fast as I can, so I don't want to see things that are not useful and not going to help the general public," said Rosenberg.

Related Topics:
philadelphia newsphiladelphia international airportfort lauderdale airport shootingshootingmass shooting
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