TSA agent killed in LAX shooting, suspect identified
Fri, 01 Nov 2013 16:55:12 GMT —
A gunman armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire at the Los Angeles International Airport, killing a Transportation Security Administration employee and wounding two other people. An official says the gunman was wearing fatigues and carrying a bag containing a hand-written note that said he "wanted to kill TSA and pigs."
According to law enforcement, the suspect has been identified as 23-year-old Paul Ciancia of New Jersey and is in custody.
Tim Kauffman, a spokesman for the American Federation of Government Employees in Washington, confirmed Friday that a TSA officer was killed.
Initial reports indicated that a gunman approached a document checker, then pulled a firearm and fired one shot at a security officer, according to NBC News' Pete Williams.
Police said the suspect was apparently injured following an exchange of gunfire with officers.
Officers are sweeping through the terminal to make sure there are no other gunmen, said Villanueva.
Several travelers told KNBC in Los Angeles they heard gunfire in Tom Bradley Terminal. A medical triage area was established outside the terminal, but details regarding the conditions of the injured victims were not immediately available.
"We were just standing there and someone started shooting," witness Nick Pugh said. "I heard a total of maybe eight or 10 shots fired."
Pugh said he saw a man believe to be the gunman being chased by officers.
"He ran across the tarmac to get away and was put on ground and cuffed," Pugh said.
The shooting was reported at about 9:20 a.m. A camera positioned above the upper level road at LAX showed travelers running from the Tom Bradley Terminal, where passengers depart and arrive for international flights.
"People freaked out," said witness Tim Daly, who reported hearing 15 rounds. "No one knew what to do."
Officers escorted people -- some in wheelchairs -- from the terminal to the triage area. Several ambulances responded to the location on the departure level.
Roads near the airport are closed for the investigation. Some travelers exited their vehicles and began walking to the airport with their luggage.
As incoming flights land, they are subject to a ground-stop order.
Flights heading for Los Angeles that had not yet taken off were held at their gates by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The shooting comes more than 10 years after a gunman walked up to a ticket counter for Israel's national airline, El Al, at LAX, killing two and wounding four in a July 4 terrorist attack.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the situation, according to authorities.
(Information from the Associated Press and KNBC in Los Angeles used in this report)