The November 1st shooting at Los Angeles International Airport not only shook the nation but also took the life of a husband and father of two children.
Last Friday at approximately 9:20 a.m. Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, wearing dark clothing and a bulletproof vest, entered the Los Angeles International Airport, walking past travelers and airline employees. He arrived at Terminal 3 and went straight for Transport Security Administration agents. He proceeded to pull out a Smith & Wesson .223-caliber M&P-15 assault rifle from a duffle bag and shoot Gerardo Hernandez, 39, at point-blank range. Ciancia proceeded up the escalator before returning to shoot Hernandez again upon seeing him squirm. Ciancia reportedly continued walking and shooting throughout the airport asking witnesses, “Are you TSA?” If they answered “no,” Ciancia would move on. Hernandez was the first TSA agent to die in the line of duty, which was created in 2001. James Speer, 54, and Tony Grigsby, 36, were two other TSA agents who were wounded but have since been released from the hospital in fair condition. 29-year-old traveler Brian Ludmer was shot in the leg but was reported to be in fair condition Sunday. It was later found that Ciancia’s duffle bag also contained five loaded magazines and a trove of ammunition, as well as a menacing, handwritten and signed note indicating severe malice towards TSA agents, stating the he wanted to “instill fear into their traitorous minds,” FBI Agent in Charge David Bowdich said. The note also mentioned “NWO” which could possibly be a reference to the New World Order, a conspiracy theory that believes authorities are in coalition to create a totalitarian government. Airport police officers arrived at the scene 60 seconds later, shooting the gunman multiple times in purportedly the chest, leg, and head. Ciancia remains unresponsive at a local hospital and has been unable to be questioned. Federal prosecutors have charged Ciancia with murder and committing violence at an international airport. If convicted, Ciancia could face life in prison without parole or the death penalty. The situation was tragically nearly saved by Ciancia’s father in Pennsville, New Jersey, who upon receiving disturbing text messages from his son around the same time of the shooting, contacted Pennsville Police Chief Allen Cummings. Cummings decided to take action and spoke with a lieutenant in Los Angeles, who informed him that their department was in the midst of acting in response to a shooting at LAX. It wasn’t until a reporter called Cummings, asking him to comment on the shooting, that they finally made the horrific realization.