LOS ANGELES—The suspect of the fatal LAX shooting on Friday, November 1 has been identified.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) identified the alleged gunman of Friday’s deadly shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) as 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia. The suspect is charged with the murder of a federal officer and commission of violence at an international airport, according to court documents. Both charges carry punishment of the death penalty or life behind bars.
On Monday, November 4, the FBI released an affidavit stating Ciancia was driven to the airport by one of his roommates Friday morning. The roommate told officials the suspect came into his room early unannounced and asked if he would take him to the airport. Unaware of Ciancia’s intentions, his roommate agreed and dropped him off in his black Hyundai Accent outside of Virgin Airlines Airport Terminal around 9 a.m.
Upon arrival, Ciancia drew a .223-caliber M&P-15 assault rifle from his duffel bag and opened fire on TSA Screening Officer Gerardo I. Hernandez as he approached the checkpoint at Terminal 3. According to the FBI, airport surveillance video footage shows that as Ciancia began to walk towards the escalator, he look backed and noticed the wounded officer moving. he then walked back and shot Hernandez again, fatally wounding the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty since the government agency was created 12 years ago after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
The alleged gunman went on to shoot two other TSA officers and one civilian before LAX airport police were able to halt Ciancia’s charge by shooting him in the face. He is currently heavily sedated and being monitored at RonaldReagan UCLA Medical Center, according to reports.
The two wounded TSA officers have been identified as James Speer, 54, and Tony Grisby, 36. The fourth victim was identified as a teacher named Brian Ludmer who remains hospitalized, according to reports.
Law enforcement agents retained a letter written by Ciancia, an LG-cell phone battery and five magazine clips of ammunition from the scene of investigation. According to the affidavit, the roommate allowed officials to search his vehicle where they discovered the cell phone believed to belong to Ciancia with the battery missing. The cell phone battery, found near the body of Ciancia at the airport, is believed to belong to the LG cell phone and has now been seized by the FBI for investigation.
Although officials are still trying to understand the motive of the alleged assailant, Ciancia’s letter reportedly states that he wanted to “instill fear” in the “traitorous minds” of TSA employees and that he had “made the conscious decision to try to kill” as many TSA workers as possible. The letter also revealed that Ciancia was concerned about a “New World Order.”
All airlines and operations at LAX returned to normalcy on Sunday, November 3. The international airport estimates approximately 1,540 flights were disrupted due to the incident, affecting the travel plans of roughly 171,050 passengers from around the world.
The American Red Cross and L.A. County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) provided services on-site to airport employees and passengers until Saturday evening. A news release on Saturday by LAX encourages those who may still be suffering from emotional distress from the event to seek counsel by contacting the LACDMH Access Center at 800-854-7771.