Los Angeles airport gunman charged with murder

Paul Anthony Ciancia could face the death penalty

The gunman who shot dead a security officer and brought America's third busiest airport to a standstill on Friday afternoon has been charged with murder and could face the death penalty.

Paul Anthony Ciancia, a 23-year-old from Los Angeles, was also charged with commission of violence at an international airport.

He was wounded by police and detained after opening fire with a .223-calibre semi automatic assault-style rifle, which he pulled from a bag in Terminal 3 of LA International Airport. He killed security guard Gerardo Hernandez and wounded seven others.

He was taken into custody in a "critical condition," and no more is known of his condition.

US Attorney Andre Birotte Jr said Ciancia fired at Mr Hernandez repeatedly at point-blank range. He then went up an escalator and turned back to see the officer move. He returned to kill him, according to a surveillance video reviewed by the FBI.

California uses the death penalty, and criminals can choose between lethal injection or gas chamber.

The attack affected hundreds of flights nationwide, and on Friday the Los Angeles mayor said Ciancia had at least 100 rounds "that could have literally killed everyone in that terminal."

The terminal reopened on Saturday.

Investigators said they wanted to know what had been "the tipping point" for the suspect, who had recently moved to LA from New Jersey. Sources said that he had sent "angry, rambling" text messages to family members in recent days and it has emerged that Ciancia's father contacted police in New Jersey shortly before the shooting, after an apparently suicidal text message was sent by the suspect to his brother.

His 39-year-old victim worked for the Transport Security Administration, which was set up in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Its officers, who screen all commercial airline passengers and baggage, do not carry weapons.

It is unclear why Ciancia targeted the TSA, and the FBI said they had no evidence of any grudge against the agency. But the handwritten note found in his bag said he'd "made the conscious decision to try to kill" multiple TSA employees and that he wanted to stir fear in them, said FBI Special Agent in Charge David L. Bowdich.

And Sky News cites an official paraphrasing the note as adding: "Black, white, yellow, brown, I don't discriminate."

One witness said that Ciancia appeared to be targeting security officials. Leon Saryan told CNN that, after shooting a TSA officer, the attacker "calmly" approached him and asked: "TSA?"

"I just shook my head and he kept going," Mr Saryan said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his goal for Real Madrid against Juventus
football
Voices
Ed Miliband and David Cameron are neck and neck in the polls
election 2015Armando Iannucci: on how British politics is broken
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)
film
Life and Style
Great minds like Einstein don't think alike
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
election 2015
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer - Leeds This i...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power