LAX shooter: I acted alone but a friend dropped me off - New York News

LAX shooter: I acted alone but a friend dropped me off

Posted: Updated:
SWAT team officers search a parking garage after gunman Paul Ciancia (top right) attacked Terminal 3 at LAX. SWAT team officers search a parking garage after gunman Paul Ciancia (top right) attacked Terminal 3 at LAX.
By The Associated Press -

The 23-year-old gunman charged in a deadly shooting at Los Angeles International Airport told authorities at the scene that he acted alone and had been dropped off at the airport by a friend, a law enforcement official who has been briefed on the investigation said Sunday.

Authorities do not believe the friend knew that Paul Ciancia, the man charged in the attack, planned to open fire inside LAX’s Terminal 3 just moments later, killing one Transportation Security Administration officer and wounding four others, including two more TSA workers, said the official, who is not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation and requested anonymity.

Ciancia was dropped off in a black Hyundai and was not a ticketed passenger. He was able to respond to investigators’ questions at the scene Friday, the source said.

Ciancia, an unemployed motorcycle mechanic who grew up in the small, blue-collar town of Pennsville, N.J., was shot four times and was under a 24-hour armed guard at the hospital, where he remained heavily sedated, the law enforcement official told The Associated Press.

Federal prosecutors charged Ciancia on Saturday with murder of a federal officer and committing violence at an international airport. The charges could qualify him for the death penalty.

In court documents and interviews, authorities spelled out a chilling chain of events, saying Ciancia walked into the airport, pulled a .223-caliber assault rifle from his duffel bag and fired repeatedly at point-blank range at 39-year-old TSA officer Gerardo I. Hernandez, killing him.

He then fired on at least two other uniformed TSA employees and an airline passenger, who all were wounded, before airport police shot him as panicked passengers cowered in stores and restaurants, authorities said.

It wasn’t clear why Ciancia targeted TSA officers, but what he left behind made it clear he intended to kill any of them that crossed his path, FBI Agent in Charge David L. Bowdich said.

The shooter’s duffel bag contained a handwritten letter signed by Ciancia stating he’d “made the conscious decision to try to kill” multiple TSA employees and that he wanted to “instill fear in their traitorous minds,” Bowdich said.

Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday he had seen the note and said that Ciancia “wanted to talk about was how easy it is to bring a gun into an airport and do something just like he did.”

The attack underscores how difficult it is to protect travelers at a massive airport such as LAX, where the terminals are open and easily accessible to thousands of people who arrive at the terminals via a broad ring road that fronts the facility and is designed to move people along quickly.

“It’s very difficult to stop these types of attacks,” McCaul said. “And you know, it’s like a shopping mall outside the perimeter, it’s almost like an open shopping mall. So it’s very difficult to protect.”

The FBI has served a search warrant on a Sun Valley residence where Ciancia lived, Ari Dekofsky, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, said Sunday. Agents are still interviewing people, she said.

Hernandez, a three-year veteran of the TSA, moved to the U.S. from El Salvador at age 15, married his sweetheart, Ana, on Valentine’s Day in 1998 and had two children.

The other two TSA officers wounded in the attack have been released from the hospital.

Brian Ludmer, a Calabasas High School teacher, remained in fair condition at Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the leg.

His family declined to comment and asked for privacy, hospital officials said.

The FBI was still looking into Ciancia’s past, but investigators said they had not found evidence of previous crimes or any run-ins with the TSA. They said he had never applied for a job with the agency.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Skydiver dies after crashing into NJ backyard

    Skydiver dies after crashing into NJ backyard

    Monday, April 21 2014 10:23 AM EDT2014-04-21 14:23:02 GMT
    A 49-year-old sky diver from Brooklyn died after crashing into the backyard of a home in New Jersey. According to officials, Arkady Shenker wore a specialized parachute during the jump. Shenker was known to be an experienced skydiver who had more than 300 jumps under his belt.
    A 49-year-old sky diver from Brooklyn died after crashing into the backyard of a home in New Jersey. According to officials, Arkady Shenker wore a specialized parachute during the jump. Shenker was known to be an experienced skydiver who had more than 300 jumps under his belt.
  • Easter Bunny train sparks New Jersey brush fires

    Easter Bunny train sparks New Jersey brush fires

    Fire officials say several small brush fires were ignited by a train carrying the Easter Bunny in northwestern New Jersey.
    A train carrying the Easter Bunny in northwestern New Jersey has ignited several small brush fires.
  • Cops: 73-year-old man shoots neighbor in dispute

    Cops: 73-year-old man shoots neighbor in dispute

    Monday, April 21 2014 7:37 AM EDT2014-04-21 11:37:28 GMT
    A 73-year-old Connecticut man will be appearing before a state judge after being charged with shooting his neighbor three times during an argument on Easter morning.
    A 73-year-old Connecticut man will be appearing before a state judge after being charged with shooting his neighbor three times during an argument on Easter morning.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices