LAX Gunman Paul Ciancia Acted Alone, Officials Say
No one helped Paul Ciancia open fire Friday at Los Angeles International Airport, where he killed a Transportation Security Administration officer and wounded three other people. Ciancia remains in critical condition after being shot four times by authorities. Before being sedated, he told police that he had acted alone.
Ciancia faces murder charges of a federal officer and committing violence at an international airport, which qualify for the death penalty.
According to reports, Ciancia pulled a .223-caliber assault rifle from his duffel bag and killed Transportation Security Administration officer Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39, at point-blank range. Surveillance video shows Ciancia turning around to see Hernandez move and shooting him again. Ciancia reportedly kept asking people, "Are you TSA?"
Officials are still unclear about Ciancia's motive, particularly about his apparent intent to kill TSA employees. They found a handwritten note with Ciancia, calling himself a "pissed-off patriot" and labeling TSA members as "pigs." Ciancia's note says that he wanted to "instill fear in their traitorous minds," FBI Agent in Charge David L. Bowdich says.
CNN reports that Ciancia started to ask his roommates for a ride to the airport a few days before the shooting, telling them he needed to visit his sick father in his native Pennsville, N.J. Investigators do not believe the roommate had any idea of Ciancia's intentions.
Ciancia's letter also mentioned "how easy it is to get a gun into the airport," according to the AP. He had five 30-round magazines and his bag contained hundreds more rounds of ammunition, so the damage could've been a lot worse if he was not stopped.
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, admits that it's nearly impossible to stop anyone from entering a major airport like LAX. "It's like a shopping mall outside the perimeter, it's almost like an open shopping mall," McCaul says.
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