The LAX suspect who opened fire Friday morning at Los Angeles International Airport was carrying an assault rifle and apparently targeting TSA officials at the airport, where armed police officers had been removed from TSA checkpoints months ago, the Los Angeles Times reported on Nov. 1.
Details about the LAX suspect and the deadly airport shooting are still unfolding. The LAX suspect somehow managed to take an AR-15, an assault-style rifle that he had concealed in a bag, through the ticketing area and then stormed his way through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint before the shooting began.
According to CNN, eyewitnesses said that the airport shooting suspect went through the airport asking people if they were with the TSA, a federal law enforcement official said.
The LAX suspect then allegedly came to a TSA checkpoint at Terminal 3 at 9:20 a.m. PT and began shooting at the TSA officer, according to an ex-LAPD officer who happened to be at the scene. The LAX suspect had three magazines for his weapon, according to the intelligence source briefed by Los Angeles police, CNN reported. The shooting left the TSA agent dead — the first agent to die in the line of duty.
When the LAX suspect started shooting, chaos erupted in the airport, as people ran to take cover. A chase ensued as the LAX suspect attempted to flee. Early reports indicated that six or seven people were injured in the LAX shooting and taken to area hospitals, but wasn’t immediately clear who the victims are.
The LAX suspect was said to have been taken into custody after being shot in the chest multiple times. USA Today said that the suspect was identified as Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, of Los Angeles.
According to the LA Times, armed police officers were removed from their permanent assignments protecting TSA checkpoints at LAX — the nation’s third-busiest airport — months before Friday’s shooting, even though the airport had been identified as being at high risk in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.