LAX Shooter Remains “Unresponsive”

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 3 2013 11:08 AM

LAX Shooter Remains “Unresponsive”

186648174
A traveler steps into the security screening as Transportation Security Administration agents look on after Terminal 3 was re-opened on Nov. 2

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

UPDATE, 3 November at 1:10 p.m.: Paul Ciancia, the 23-year-old gunman charged in Friday’s shooting at Los Angeles International Airport, allegedly told authorities he acted alone and that a friend had dropped him off at the airport, a law enforcement official tells the Associated Press.

It remains unclear whether the friend who dropped Ciancia off at the airport knew what he was planning. What does seem clear is that Ciancia intended to die during the eventual shootout, Rep. Michael McCaul, the Republican who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security told CNN on Sunday, saying he had read the note the alleged gunman was carrying. "It's clearly one of those notes that reads, 'I'm going to kill people and I don't want to kill civilians,' with the idea that he's going to die at the end of this," McCaul told CNN, according to Reuters. He said the note "talks a lot about killing TSA agents, and he said, 'If I just kill one, my mission is accomplished.'"  

Advertisement

ORIGINAL POST: Officials charged 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia with murder of a federal officer and committing violence at an international airport, two charges that could lead to the death penalty or life in prison. "It will be the decision of the attorney general of the United States whether or not to seek the death penalty in this case," U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte said as he announced the charges against Ciancia, reports Reuters. So far, officials have been unable to interview Ciancia, who remains “unresponsive” in the hospital after he was shot four times, including in the leg and head, reports the Los Angeles Times.

As he announced the charges against Ciancia, Birotte, laid out the details of the events Friday that began when the 23-year-old arrived at LAX, pulled out a Smith & Wesson .223-caliber assault rifle and began firing at a TSA officer that was checking IDs and boarding passes. That’s when 39-year-old Gerardo Hernandez was shot at point-blank range. Ciancia turned away but when he realized Hernandez was still alive, he “returned to finish him off,” notes the Associated Press. Ciancia later fired on at least two other TSA employees and an airline passenger before he was shot.

In the duffel bag where he had the rifle, Ciancia also had a signed, handwritten note that resembled a “suicide note,” a law enforcement official tells the Los Angeles Times. The note expressed Ciancia’s desire to “kill multiple TSA employees,” an FBI special agent said, according to Reuters.  "He addressed them at one point in the letter and said that he wanted to ‘instill fear into their traitorous minds.'" Eyewitnesses say Ciancia walked up to several people and calmly asked, “Hey, are you TSA?” and when they said no, he just kept walking, reports CNN. The Times also hears word Ciancia’s note mentioned “NWO,” a possible reference to the New World Order, a conspiracy theory that contends a global elite is working toward creating a totalitarian one-world government.

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.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.