L.A. Police convinced it was lone gunman at LAX, one TSA agent killed
LOS ANGELES — A gunman concealing an assault rifle walked up to a Los Angeles International Airport checkpoint and opened fire on Transportation Safety of America agents on Friday morning. But when the gunman passed the security point, he was shot and wounded by a police officer, according to a former ranking Los Angeles Police Department officer who was at the scene. TSA has confirmed that one of its agents was fatally shot.
CNN reports that the gunmen shot a total of three people, including the deceased. One other TSA agent was wounded and another person also sustained injuries. Additional people in the area were afflicted with minor injuries and treated on scene.
The suspected gunman has been identified as Paul Anthony Ciancia, a 23-year-old from Los Angeles, the FBI said. Cianca was taken into custody after being shot by law enforcement in the airport.
A news conference was held Friday afternoon at the Los Angeles International Airport to provide more details on what happened there Friday morning. Authorities believe the danger is over and a lot of work lies ahead.
“There’s a tremendous amount of investigative work that will need to be done. We have done security sweeps through the entire airport. We feel confident the incident is tied to Terminal 3 and Terminal 3 only,” LAPD Police Chief Patrick Gannon said.
The gunfire sent travelers into a stampede, passengers said.
The gunman approached a checkpoint at Terminal 3 at 11:30 a.m.CT and began shooting at the TSA agent, according to the former LAPD officer who was at the scene.
The gunfire and the airport’s announcement of the incident provoked chaos among travelers on a busy morning, passengers said.
A total of 10 shots were fired, and the gunman was shot multiple times in the chest according to CNN.
One of the busiest airports in the world was rendered a ghost town: The violence prompted evacuations of portions of LAX and led to a “ground stop” for arriving planes, said police and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Robert Perez, who was getting ready to take a Virgin Air flight, was taking a nap in the terminal when pandemonium erupted, he told CNN affiliate KCAL/KCBS.
“I heard a popping sound, and everybody was diving for cover,” Perez told the station. “The TSA said there was a shooting in the terminal and evacuate the building.”
At least 100 people came down a staircase. “Everybody started to panic,” Perez said.
Fox Sports national columnist Bill Reiter was also at the airport during the gunfire. “After the initial burst of gunfire and hiding, people started jumping over one another, jumping off chairs, pushing each other. Chaos & fear,” he said on his Twitter account.
The passengers were directed to board a bus and were taken to a smaller terminal, Perez told the affiliate.
Alex Neumann was at a food court, waiting to travel to Miami, when the incident unfolded. He said Terminal 2 was put into lockdown.
“People were running and people getting knocked down. There was luggage everywhere,” Neumann said. “Mayhem is the best I can describe it.”
Several police officers moved about the airport with guns drawn, he said. KCAL showed live video of three officers with rifles to their shoulders inspecting parked cars in an open-air parking lot.
The Los Angeles Fire Department was assisting with a “multi-patient” incident at Los Angeles International Airport, the department said Friday on Twitter.
Firefighters were laying tarps on the street at the airport, apparently for triage. Several ambulances were at the airport, and at least one person was loaded into one.
The area around the airport was jammed with cars as police shut down access to the airport Friday morning.
President Barack Obama has been briefed on the shooting and will continue to be updated, but the White House had no further information at this time on what happened, spokesman Jay Carney said Friday.
Authorities were interviewing about 100 witness, the intelligence source said.
A “ground stop” was issued for planes scheduled to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said Friday. A ground stop means flights destined for the affected airport are held at their departure point, according to the FAA.
Click here for a link to KCI Airport and flights that may be delayed in Kansas City.
CNN’s Casey Wian contributed to this report from LAX.