Federal Prosecutors to Seek Death Penalty Against Alleged LAX Shooter Paul Ciancia
Federal prosecutors announced Friday they were seeking the death penalty against the 24-year-old man who was charged in the deadly shooting of a TSA agent at Los Angeles International Airport in November 2013.
The death sentence was being sought against Paul Anthony Ciancia in the event that he was convicted on three of the counts, including a first degree murder charge of a federal officer, according to the federal complaint.
The two other offenses included a count of violence of violence at an international airport causing death and a count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence causing death.
“The circumstances of the offenses are such that a sentence of death is justified,” the complaint read.
Prosecutors stated that Ciancia intentionally targeted the victim, Transportation Officer Gerardo I. Hernandez, when he went on a shooting rampage with a semiautomatic rifle at a security checkpoint in Terminal 3 of LAX on Nov. 1, 2013.
Hernandez, 39, was the first TSA agent to die in the line of the duty since the agency was founded after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Several others were hospitalized in the shooting spree, which prompted a massive police response and created near chaos at the international airport.
“By committing his crimes on a weekday morning in a crowded terminal at one of the busiest airports in the world… Ciancia terrorized numerous airline passengers and airport employees by causing them to fear for their lives and experience emotional distress,” acting United States Attorney Stephanie Yonekura and four assistant U.S. attorneys wrote in the legal complaint.
The shooting rampage ended with Ciancia being shot in the face by responding airport police officers.
Ciancia was indicted by a federal grand jury on 11 charges, including murder and attempted murder, in December 2013.
He was also alleged to have shot at TSA officers Tony Leroy Grigsby and James Maurice Speer, and Brian Donovan Ludmer, a Calabasas teacher.
Ciancia has pleaded not guilty to all 11 counts.
KTLA’s Melissa Pamer contributed to this story.