LAX Shooter Note Says He Wanted To Kill TSA Employees and “Pigs”

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 2 2013 12:25 PM

LAX Shooter Note Says He Wanted To Kill TSA Employees and “Pigs”

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A Los Angeles Airport Police officer stands guard in between Terminal 3 and Terminal 2 as normal operations slowly resume at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on November 1

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A day after a 23-year-old man carrying a semi-automatic rifle and around 150 rounds of ammunition caused panic and chaos at the Los Angeles International Airport after he opened fire at a security checkpoint, investigators were still struggling with the big question: Why? The gunman, who was identified as Paul Ciancia, appeared to be acting alone when he shot and killed one Transportation Security Administration officer and injured another, reports Reuters. Gerardo Hernandez, 39, was the first TSA agent to die in the line of duty.

As officials search for a motive, two key pieces of evidence seem to give clues. The gunman, who was taken into custody following a shootout, was carrying a note that expressed his “disappointment in the government,” adding that he did not want to hurt “innocent people,” a law enforcement official tells the Los Angeles Times. The Associated Press hears word that the one-page, handwritten note specified that he wanted to kill TSA employees and “pigs.” It seems the note made a reference to how Ciancia was a “pissed-off patriot” who thought his constitutional rights were being violated by TSA searches and he was particularly upset at Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Indeed, several witnesses reported he only appeared to aim his fire at TSA agents. Still, the Los Angeles Times reports one high school teacher was injured, shot at least once in the leg by the gunman.

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Officials are also paying particular attention to a text message Ciancia allegedly sent a sibling that made reference to how he was apparently ready to die. Hours before the shooting, the father called a local police chief to tell him about the message and say he was worried his son may harm himself. It’s unclear exactly what the message said but it appeared to make “reference to him taking his own life,” Pennsville Police Chief Allen Cummings tells the AP.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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