Los Angeles International Airport shooting suspect Paul Ciancia allegedly walked up to a Transportation Security Administration officer on Friday and fatally shot him at point blank range. He went up an escalator, when he realized the officer was still moving and returned to shoot him again, according to federal prosecutors.
TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez, 39, later died.
As Ciancia, 23, entered the terminal, he shot two more uniformed TSA officers and a passenger. He was apprehended after airport police shot him, but the suspect isn’t talking, FBI Special Agent in Charge David Bowdich said Saturday.
Ciancia is charged with two felony offenses, murder of a federal officer and commission of violence in an international airport, for which he could face the death penalty.
He carried a letter on his person that expressed a great deal of anti-government sentiment, but he is not linked to any known anti-government groups. He referred to the New World Order, a conspiracy theory that a secret, powerful group of elite people have a globalist agenda to rule the entire world and that they already secretly control a great deal of the U.S.
Leon Saryan, 65, from Milwaukee had just passed security when Ciancia opened fire.
"He looked at me and asked, 'TSA?' I shook my head no, and he continued on down toward the gate. He had his gun at the ready and but for the grace of God I am here to tell about it," said Saryan.
His note said he made "a conscious decision to kill multiple TSA employees” in part because they like to treat Americans like terrorists.
"Black, white, yellow, brown, I don't discriminate," the note said.
"He addressed them (TSA officers) at one point in the letter and stated that he wanted to 'instill fear into their traitorous minds,'" Bowdich said.
Ciancia carried a Smith & Wesson .223-caliber assault rifle and five magazines of ammunition, which “could have literally killed everyone in that terminal,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Ciancia’s brother and father in New Jersey both said they had recived “angry, rambling” texts from him expressing anger with the government, living in Los Angeles, and being generally unhappy, an intelligent source said.
"We are really going to draw a picture of who this person was, his background, his history. That will help us explain why he chose to do what he did," Bowdich said. "At this point, I don't have the answer on that."