Chief: LAX Gunman Believed to Have Acted Alone, Made It Deep Into Terminal 3
November 1, 2013 - 12:39 pm
The chief of the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department said they’re confident that the LAX shooter acted alone today but noted that he was able to plunge fairly deep into Terminal 3 before he was shot.
Terminal 3, next to the Tom Bradley International Terminal, hosts flights from AirTran, Alaska, Horizon, JetBlue, V Australia and Virgin Atlantic.
“We believe this to be a static situation … a safe one for those in the airport,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a press conference, where officials declined to release any information about the shooter or victims.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said “the president has been briefed on the incident at Los Angeles International Airport by Alyssa Mastromonaco, his deputy chief of staff, and he will be regularly updated on unfolding events there.
“At this point, the lead is LAPD, but we’re obviously at the federal level in touch with law enforcement officials on the ground and will — the president will be updated as — as the afternoon progresses,” Carney told reporters.
LAWA Police Chief Patrick Gannon said the FBI is taking the lead on the investigation.
Gannon said the suspect “pulled an assault rifle out of a bag and began to open fire in the terminal.”
“He proceeded into the screening area, past the screeners into the airport itself,” he said. “Airport police responded, tracked the indivdual through the airport and engaged him in gunfire in Terminal 3.” The gunman made it all the way back to the Burger King in the terminal before an LAPD officer shot him multiple times in the chest.
Gannon added that “a large amount of chaos took place during this entire incident.”
“We believe at this point that this was a lone shooter,” the chief said. Though there’s “a tremendous amount of investigate work that needs to be done,” he said they conducted “sweeps through the entire airport.”
“We feel confident this particular incident is tied to Terminal 3 and Terminal 3 only.”
Gannon said “multiple victims” were shot, with “some other injuries as well.”
Traffic at LAX was about half capacity a few hours after the 9:30 a.m. incident, with some flights being diverted to Ontario International Airport as the crime scene was probed.
Though officials were publicly mum about the people involved, the Los Angeles Times quoted anonymous officials afterward as saying the gunman was a ticketed passenger.
“Officials don’t believe the gunman has ever worked for TSA. Law enforcement sources had earlier told The Times the gunman was a TSA employee,” the paper said.
A total of seven people were reportedly treated by emergency responders, with six being transported to hospitals. A TSA officer was reportedly killed, though officials would not confirm this at the press conference.
From CBS Los Angeles:
Passenger Rodrigo Jara told KNX1070 NEWSRADIO he was waiting in line to go through the security line in Terminal 3 when he heard a loud sound.
“I heard ‘pop, pop, pop,’ and then we fell down, and little did I know, I looked to the side, and this guy’s going up the stairs with the rifle,” Jara said.
Jara described the shooter he saw as a white male with blonde/dirty blonde hair possibly wearing khakis, clean-cut, and “walking like he was going to buy tea.”
UPDATE: Multiple media outlets are reporting the shooter as 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia, an American citizen.
“We’re told, that he had strong anti-government views,” NBC’s Pete Williams reported. “That’s based on some written material that we’re told he was carrying, that they found on him after he was shot by L.A. airport police.”
“So, it would seem to be a combination of anti-government views and some kind of grudge against the TSA,” Williams added.