LAX gunman planned to kill transport officers

MURDERED: Transportation Security Administration officer Gerardo Hernandez, 39, was killed on Friday.


    Nov 04, 2013

    LAX gunman planned to kill transport officers


    THE gunman who killed a security officer at Los Angeles airport carried a note saying he planned to murder "multiple" agents, officials said on Saturday, announcing charges against him.

    A prosecutor told how Paul Ciancia opened fire at "point-blank range" on Mr Gerardo Hernandez, the first Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent killed since the TSA was created after Sept 11, 2001.

    His widow said she was "truly devastated" by the 39-year-old's death. Mrs Ana Hernandez said: "He was a joyful person, always smiling and took pride in his duty to the American public."

    Ciancia, who used a Smith and Wesson assault rifle and a large stock of ammo in the attack, faces a possible death penalty on charges of murdering a federal officer and committing violence in an international airport.

    The gun rampage triggered chaos at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Friday. The airport fully reopened only on Saturday, more than 24 hours later.

    The shots injured the TSA officer, but did not kill him. The 23-year-old gunman then went up a nearby escalator, and came back down to "shoot the wounded officer again", said United States attorney Andre Birotte.

    Ciancia then proceeded further into Terminal 3, shooting four people, including two other TSA officers, before being detained after a gunfight with LAX police.

    The gunman, who remains in hospital and has not yet answered any questions from investigators, carried a note in his bag indicating that he was targeting TSA officers, for whom he felt "anger and malice".

    Mr David Bowdich, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Los Angeles office, said that the handwritten note - found in a bag taken into the airport - showed that Ciancia "made a conscious decision to kill multiple TSA employees".

    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Friday that Ciancia had a lot more ammunition when he was arrested.

    He said: "There were more than 100 more rounds that could have literally killed everybody in that terminal."

    An estimated 1,550 scheduled flights with some 167,000 passengers were impacted on Friday amid the resulting ground stop.