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Gunman shoots and kills a TSA officer at Los Angeles International Airport

Los Angeles airportThe Los Angeles airport was shaken up on Friday following a shootout by a lone gunman.  At about 9.30am the suspect had entered Terminal 3, pulled out an assault rifle with 100 rounds of ammunition and opened fire on the airport personnel while trying to get through a security check point. The gunman had shot and killed a Transportation Security Administration official, shot and left another in critical condition, and injured at least 4 others.

The suspect was identified as Paul Ciancia, a 23-year old. He had been living in Los Angeles since 2012, but originally from Pennsville, N.J. There was a handwritten note in his bag stating that he was an anti-government and anti-TSA activist with the intention of killing a number of TSA employees. On Friday, Ciancia’s teenage brother had received a strange text message from Ciancia saying that he was not going to be alive much longer. According to Pennsville Police chief Mr. Allen Cummings, his father had got worried after learning of the text, and tipped off the authorities. Colleagues and friends of Ciancia found it hard to believe he was involved in the shooting. They described him as a quiet, nice guy, from a good family etc.

The slain officer Mr.Gerardo Hernandez, a 39-year old father-of two was a behavior detection officer at TSA.  When the incident happened, he was checking the IDs and boarding passes of the passengers, prior to moving onto the screening area.

With the onset of the shooting, the police ordered the passengers to throw themselves on the floor. Then the panicked travelers started to scream “run, run!” fearing a terrorist attack. In the chaos, they dropped their baggage and ran for their life. The airport was immediately closed, flight cancelled, incoming flights diverted to nearby airports, and traffic around the airport halted. All the passengers were evacuated, but there were thousands of left behind baggage at the airport terminal.

While the gunman was trying to escape from the terminal, the airport police went after him and shot him down near a departure gate and took him into custody. Shortly after, a bomb squad came to the area to analyze the situation, and they assured the passengers that there was no prevailing danger. Travel was in operation by Friday afternoon and Terminal 3 functioned by Saturday afternoon.  There were thousands of stranded passengers around the airport who later walked in and claimed back their baggage.

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