Shooting Shocks L.A.
by Shira Golub on Friday, November 8th, 2013
On the morning of Friday, November 1st, Paul Anthony Ciancia shot three Transport Security Association (TSA) agents at the Los Angeles International Airport, wounding two and killing the other.
“The suspect entered the terminal wearing military-like clothing when he opened fire,” reports CBS News’ law enforcement sources. Ciancia was accompanied by five fully-loaded magazines, “enough ammo to kill everyone in that terminal.”
Ciancia started his criminal rampage at a TSA checkpoint in Terminal 3 of LAX, where he asked innocent travelers whether they were a part of TSA. He then shot and killed Gerardo Hernandez, 39, “transit security screener” according to LA Times, with a semi-automatic assault rifle.
John Pistole, TSA Administrator, indicates that Hernandez’s death was particularly tragic, because he was “tasked with spotting suspicious activity and identifying potential terrorists.” In addition, “Hernandez is the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty in the 12-year history of the agency,” USA Today writes.
Los Angeles Air Force police chief Patrick Gannon explains that Ciancia “proceeded up into the screening area, where TSA screeners are, and continued shooting,” causing “large amount of chaos.”
All the travelers in LAX fled the scene with fear and nervousness as police went to search for the suspect. Airport Police finally apprehended Paul Ciancia near the Burger King in the food court. The Huffington Post reports that Ciancia “was hit four times and remained hospitalized Saturday, but there was no word on his condition. He was shot in the mouth and the leg, authorities said.” The shooter is now in custody.
No exact numbers were published, as sources disagree about the number of victims that were wounded. CBS notes that five were brought to hospitals, a number that includes “the gunman, the slain TSA officer and one person who broke their ankle.”
After a formal investigation of the scene, CBS News correspondent John Miller says, “According to investigators, Ciancia had a gun in his bag. Inside the bag, investigators came up with notes saying that the TSA were fascists and pigs, anti-American rantings, anti-TSA rantings and references to the new world order, which is another growing conspiracy group.”
This shooting has had highly detrimental effects on the aviation industry. USA Today states, “The Federal Aviation Administration canceled or diverted 746 flights.” The shutdown of LAX, the nation’s third largest and busiest airport, caused a halt not only in travel within California, but also across the entire country.
“Together, we will get through this,” Pistole writes in a message to his employees. “Our faith will guide us and our professionalism will ensure our ability to carry out our mission.” Pistole now faces the task of making an agency and a mode of transportation the safest it can be. Some argue that the answer may be in arming the men and women of TSA, while others think that this proposal will simply cause more problems. As TSA began as a result of 9/11 to secure America’s airports, this attack serves as a reminder that need for security in airports, with its large crowds day after day, is growing.
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