Authorities have brought criminal charges against the man suspected of killing a Transportation Security Administration agent and wounding several others in a shooting rampage Friday morning at Los Angeles International Airport.
Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, was charged with two counts stemming from the incident: murder of a federal officer, and commission of violence at an international airport, according to a criminal complaint filed Saturday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Much about a possible motive in the shooting remained unknown, except for Ciancia’s reported hatred of the TSA and other law enforcement agencies. Ciancia wrote about that disdain in a note that was found after he was shot four times by airport police, authorities said.
At a news conference Saturday afternoon, as Ciancia remained hospitalized, officials described the charges against him but declined to discuss the nature of his wounds.
“At this point, he is unresponsive and we are unable to interview him as of today,” said David Bowdich, FBI special agent in charge.
About 9:20 a.m. Friday, Ciancia walked into Terminal 3 at the airport and “pulled a Smith & Wesson .223-caliber MP15 assault rifle out of his bag and fired multiple rounds, at point-blank range,” at TSA Agent Gerardo I. Hernandez, said U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte, Jr.
Ciancia turned away from Hernandez, walked up an escalator, then returned to shoot the officer again, Birotte said. Hernandez later succumbed to his wounds, making him the first TSA agent to die in the line of duty.
Two other TSA agents and one civilian were wounded by gunfire, authorities said. Two people suffered “evasion injuries” as they scrambled to avoid the shooter.
If convicted, Ciancia could be sentenced to death or life in prison, Birotte said.