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Home  >  Topics  >  Investigations

July 09, 2002
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Wife Can't Explain Fatal Shootings at LAX

by Neil Macfarquhar, The New York Times

CAIRO - The wife of an Egyptian immigrant who fatally shot two people on the Fourth of July at Los Angeles International Airport said today that she could find no reason for the shooting.

"There is no motive that would make him do such a thing," the woman, Hala el-Awadly, said in a telephone interview. "He is a quiet person who lived his life in peace. He carried no hatred for anyone, and he was never aggressive nor violent, never."

American law enforcement officials have said her husband, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, 41, went to the counter of El Al, the Israeli airline, with the intention to kill people. Carrying two guns and a hunting knife, he killed two people and wounded several others before a guard shot him dead.

Mrs. Awadly, visiting her family here, said none of the American officials' potential explanations fit her husband of more than 12 years.

Business at his limousine service had been slow since Sept. 11, she said, but the family had savings to tide them over. She also described a marital dispute that sent the police to their house seven years ago as a minor quarrel for which she was to blame for blowing out of proportion.

She rejected contentions by one of the Syrians who worked briefly for her husband that her husband hated Jews. The man told reporters that Mr. Hadayet once told him that Israel was destroying Egypt through exporting prostitutes with AIDS.

She also dismissed statements by other neighbors that her husband had been upset that a neighbor flew American and Marine flags from his balcony after Sept. 11.

"Everyone in the U.S. hangs flags," she said. "We never complained to anyone."

Mrs. Awadly said that in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11 all Arabs and Muslims became suspects widely reviled in the United States. But she noted that nobody had brought any accusations against her husband.

"After Sept. 11, they arrested more people than you could imagine, but he wasn't even questioned," she said. "Why didn't the neighbors file a complaint then?"

Mrs. Awadly has undergone intensive questioning by Egyptian intelligence since the shooting. She arrived here on June 15 with her sons Omar, 12, and Adam, 7, to give support to her mother during surgery. Mrs. Awadly said that she planned to return to the United States with the boys late next month and that the family had scheduled a naturalization interview. They emigrated 10 years ago, she said, and were looking forward to becoming citizens.

"The day of the accident, he talked to us, his voice was quiet as usual," Mrs. Awadly said. "He asked about the kids and said please make them study so that they do not forget their English when they return."

Mrs. Awadly said the boys spoke such poor Arabic that their elders had been able to keep the news of the shooting from them for a few days. The older boy finally asked why his father's name kept coming up in conversations, Mrs. Awadly said, and she told him that his father was dead. She said her husband had wanted Omar to become a dentist and was happy with their life in the United States.

"He had plans for the future," Mrs. Awadly said. "So how could he do such a thing?"






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