LAX shooter captured; flights delayed
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A man pulled a semi-automatic rifle from a bag and shot his way past a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport today, killing a federal security officer and wounding at least three others in an attack that disrupted more than 700 flights across the U.S., authorities said.
Officials said the gunman, who was wounded in a shootout with police and taken into custody, targeted Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents, who handle security checks at U.S. airports.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Los Angeles Airport Police identified the suspected gunman as Paul Ciancia, 23, of New Jersey.
A law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly, said Ciancia was wearing fatigues and carrying a bag containing a handwritten note that said he wanted to kill TSA employees and “pigs”.
Ciancia had at least five full 30-round magazines on him, said the official, who was briefed on the investigation. The official also said Ciancia was shot in the mouth and leg by two airport police officers.
Officials told a press conference they saw no further threat today to the nation’s third largest airport, which is a major gateway for flights to Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
A police chief in New Jersey said Ciancia’ father called him today saying another of his children had received a text message from Ciancia in reference to him taking his own life. Pennsville Chief Allen Cummings said he called Los Angeles police, which sent a patrol car to Ciancia’s apartment. Two roommates there said they had seen him Thursday and that he was fine.
Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon said the gunman entered Terminal 3, pulled an assault rifle from a bag and began shooting, then fired more shots at a screening checkpoint, where a security agent was checking passenger documents, before entering the secure area of the terminal.
Officers exchanged fire with the gunman and apprehended him. Police believe he was the only shooter, Gannon said.
Panicked travelers dropped to the ground. Those who had made it past security fled onto the tarmac or sought cover inside restaurants and lounges.