Initial Court Appearance Set for Alleged LAX Gunman
The accused gunman in the fatal shooting spree at Los Angeles International Airport was scheduled to make an initial court appearance on Wednesday, federal prosecutors announced Monday.
Paul Ciancia was set to appear at West Valley Detention Center, a San Bernardino County jail facility in Rancho Cucamonga where he was being held, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
The appearance was set to be Ciancia’s first since he allegedly opening fire at LAX on Nov. 1, killing Transportation Security Administration officer Gerardo I. Hernandez and injuring several others.
The court hearing will be an arraignment, but Ciancia will not be asked to enter a plea, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Thom Mrozek said in an email to news media.
“United States Magistrate Judge David T. Bristow will make sure that the defendant has been apprised of his rights, has seen the criminal complaint filed against him, and has an attorney,” Mrozek wrote, adding that the judge will likely set future court dates.
A case calendar for Bristow’s courtroom listed “hospital” and West Valley Detention Center under the hearing, but Mrozek could not confirm if Ciancia was still in a medical center at the jail.
Ciancia allegedly pulled an assault rifle from a bag near the entrance to Terminal 3, shooting Hernandez at point-blank range, and then returning to fire on Hernandez again. Ciancia allegedly then fired on at least two other TSA employees and a civilian passenger as he proceeded through the TSA checkpoint and into the gate area.
He was shot by responding airport police and taken to the hospital in critical condition. On Nov. 19, Ciancia was released from the hospital and taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service.
A New Jersey native who had been living in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Sun Valley, Ciancia was believed to have acted alone, specifically targeting TSA employees in an incident that left LAX in chaos and disrupted air travel around the world.
Ciancia has been charged with the murder of a federal officer and the intentional use of a firearm during the commission of violence an international airport.