The family of the suspected gunman in a deadly rampage at Los Angeles International Airport has expressed, through an attorney, “deep and sincere sympathy” to relatives of the TSA agent who was slain in the attack.
Attorney John Jordan spoke to media in Pennsville, N.J., on Monday on behalf of the family of Paul Anthony Ciancia, who is suspected of shooting his way through Terminal 3 at LAX last Friday, killing one and wounding several others.
Ciancia, who had moved to Los Angeles within the last two years, remained in critical condition at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on Monday, a spokesman for the hospital said. FBI agents had not yet been able to interview him.
The 23-year-old was charged Saturday with the murder of a federal employee — Gerardo I. Hernandez — and the intentional use of a firearm at an international airport.
“We, like most Americans, were shocked and numbed by the tragic events of last Friday,” Jordan said on behalf of Ciancia’s parents and siblings.
Asking for privacy, the family was making its first statement since Ciancia allegedly killed Hernandez with an assault rifle and wounded several others in a shooting spree that was apparently targeted at Transportation Security Administration officers.
Ciancia had reportedly sent concerning text messages to family members that prompted a request that the Los Angeles Police Department check on him Friday morning, according to the police chief in the small New Jersey town where the family lives.
Officers arrived t Ciancia’s Sun Valley residence less than an hour after the shooting began, an LAPD commander told CNN.
“Paul is our son and brother. We will continue to love him and care for him,” Jordan said on behalf of the family.
The family was cooperating with law enforcement, Jordan said, acknowledging “the need to understand what happened and why it happened.”
The Ciancias said it was “most important” to express sympathy for the Hernandez family.
“Our hearts go out to his family and many others who grieve his passing. We wish to convey too, our hopes that those who were wounded during this incident will experience quick and full recoveries.
“We also regret the inconvenience experienced by thousands of travelers as well the administration and employees of the Los Angeles Airport,” Jordan said on behalf of the family.
Telling the roommates at the Sun Valley condominium complex where he lived that he needed to return to New Jersey to visit a sick father, according to CNN, Ciancia was driven to the airport by one of those roommates.
Accompanied by unidentified officials at the complex Monday, one roommate refused to comment in response to questions about Ciancia.
He entered Terminal 3 at 9:20 a.m., pulling a Smith & Wesson .223-caliber M&P-15 assault rifle out of a bag and firing multiple rounds at Hernandez, then firing again after Hernandez appeared to move, according to an FBI agent’s affidavit.
Ciancia then allegedly shot two other TSA agents — James Speer, 54, and Tony Grigsby, 36 — and a civilian passenger — Calabasas High School teacher Brian Ludmer.
The gunman than proceeded past security screening into the gate area of the terminal, where he was shot by two airport police officers.
In a handwritten letter found in his bag, Ciancia allegedly wrote that he intended to try to kill multiple TSA officers, saying he wantd to “instill fear into (their) traitorous minds.”
He had 150 rounds on him, authorities said.
The motive for the shootings remained under investigation.