Yaakov Aminov, 46, a Los Angeles diamond dealer, was one of the two persons slain Thursday by a gunman who opened fire at the ticket counter of Israel’s national airline at the Los Angeles airport. Grieving family and friends said he was unfailingly kind, the Associated Press reported.
“He loved people. He loved everyone,” Aminov’s brother-in-law, Mark Ezerzer told the AP.
Aminov, a father of eight, was shot after arriving at the airport to drop off a friend who was going home to Israel on the airline, El Al, according to media reports. He collapsed in the arms of the friend, Michael Shabtay.
The FBI reportedly said the 41-year-old gunman, Egyptian immigrant Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, went to the airport intending to kill, although his motive remained unclear.
In North Hollywood, family and friends gathered at Aminov’s home Friday, where he had lived with his pregnant wife, Anat, and five children, ages 2 through 9, the AP reported. Cars packed nearby streets, and friends gathered on his front lawn, consoling each other and sharing memories.
Aminov emigrated from Israel 13 years ago, and built a life as the owner of a diamond business. A former wife and his three other children live in Israel.
Aminov was a devout Orthodox Jew who could often be found at his synagogue helping with donations and temple renewal projects. He loved his wife and children, “teaching them the right way,” Mike Moshe, another brother-in-law, reportedly said.
On Saturday nights, Aminov would welcome family and friends into his home, Moshe recalled, and there was always plenty of food and drink.
“It was like a king’s house. There was food everywhere,” Moshe said. “He would offer you vodka, and if you didn’t drink it, it was like you were insulting him.”
The other victim was Victoria Hen, 25, an Israeli-born El Al ticket agent, who had been in the job about one month, the AP reported.
Canadian Sarah Phillips, 61, was shot in the ankle and a man was treated for injuries sustained when he was pistol whipped. Two people suffered heart trouble.
The FBI reportedly said the evidence suggested that Hadayet began shooting without warning.
Arie Golan, a 54-year-old Israeli army veteran, who was waiting in line, and an El Al security agent jumped on the shooter and subdued him, Golan told the Los Angeles Times. Witnesses told the newspaper Hadayet was shot once at close range after he was disarmed, while being held on the floor.
Haim Sapir, El Al’s security chief in Los Angeles, was treated for a stab wound sustained in the fight, which ended when he shot Hadayet, Israel’s Consul General Yuval Rotem, reportedly said.