Investigators look for answers in LAX shooting

The man accused of killing a TSA officer at LAX remains unable to answer questions from police. But investigators are learning more about what may have driven him to open fire.
November 4, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The man accused of killing a TSA officer at LAX remains unable to answer questions from police. But investigators are learning more about what may have driven him to open fire.

Authorities say the suspect, Paul Ciancia, is sedated and under 24 hour armed watch at a Southern California Hospital. He has not been able to speak to investigators, but they have learned that his roommate dropped him off at Terminal 3 Friday morning and had no idea what Ciancia was planning to do.

Detective continued to dig through the accused gunman's past on Monday, trying to figure out why he targeted TSA agents. He is now been charged with murdering a federal officer.

According to the criminal complaint, surveillance video shows Ciancia walking up the TSA checkpoint, pulling out a Smith and Wesson assault rifle, and shooting TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez at point blank range.

The document also said the gunman walked away, but when he saw the wounded officer moving, he came back and shot him again, killing him.

"As we know, this is the first TSA employee killed in the line of duty," said John S. Pistole, TSA administrator.

The FBI said Ciancia shot his way through the terminal, wounding two other officers, and teacher Brian Ludmer -- who was shot in a leg.

"He dragged himself into nearby closet... inside the closet he found a sweatshirt which he used as a tourniquet wrapped it around his thigh to stop the blood," said Dan Stepenosky, victim's friend.

After airport police shot Ciancia 4 times, they found his bag which contained 5 magazines full of ammunition and a handwritten note addressed to the TSA saying he hoped "to instill fear on your traitorous minds."

"He made a conscious decision to kill multiple TSA employees," said David Bowdich, FBI Special Agent in Charge.

Classmates at Ciancia's Delaware High School, where he played the french horn, said he was a loner. A former roommate called Ciancia "a nice guy."

"He said he was going back to new jersey, going to work for his dad, making amends with family problems, and spending holidays with his family," said John Mincey, Ciancia's former roommate.

Things are back to normal at Terminal 3. The alleged gunman is in a hospital bed, "unresponsive," just a few miles away, with a gunshot wound to the head. If he regains consciousness, he could face the death penalty.


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