Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E) – A 23-year-old man went on a shooting rampage inside Terminal 3 of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Friday morning killing one Transportation Security Agency (TSA) officer before the shooter was shot and arrested by airport police.
The shooting by Paul Anthony Ciancia of Pennsville, New Jersey caused panic among travelers and forced the world’s sixth largest airport to lock down. Terminal 3 remained closed Saturday morning affecting 1,550 flights and 167,050 passengers.
Witnesses said Ciancia pulled an AR-15 assault rifle from a bag upon entering the terminal at 9:20 a.m. and opened fire, according to Los Angeles World Airports Police Chief Patrick Gannon. He then went to the security checkpoint upstairs and shot Gerardo Hernandez, 40, a travel document checker. Hernandez was killed on the spot making him the first TSA officer to die in the line of duty.
Two other people were shot and wounded while four suffered injuries from the stampede.
Witnesses said the gunman was asking people if they are TSA and moved on if they said no.
Two airport police officers went after Ciancia and a firefight followed near a food court. The gunman went down after getting shot multiple times. Police found 100 rounds of ammunition from Ciancia, who was taken to a hospital for treatment. His condition was unknown.
Meanwhile, the family and neighbors of Ciancia in Pentsville was shocked to learn of Ciancia’s involvement in the LAX shooting. FBI agents came to the Ciancia family’s home Friday night to question them. Friends of the suspect told investigators he was a regular guy and had no police records.
Ciancia’s father, Paul, told Pennsville Township Chief of Police Allen J. Cummings he received a text message from his son on Friday. The message sounded like he was going to harm himself. Authorities suspect that Ciancia is angry at TSA and this prompted the shooting rampage.