An unknown gunman armed with a high-powered rifle opened fire on the general public at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) this morning, killing a TSA agent and wounding several others. The gunman was later shot by the police at a nearby Burger King. From the LA Times:
Authorities said the gunman fired at several locations in Terminal 3 before police shot him. LAX police did not reveal his condition.
The motive was unclear. A federal law enforcement official said that the gunman was a ticketed passenger entering the airport.
Officials don’t believe the gunman has ever worked for TSA. Law enforcement sources had earlier told The Times that the gunman was a TSA employee.
Los Angeles Police Department anti-terrorism officials were on the scene, but sources said they believe the suspect acted alone and was not tied to any known terrorist group.
At a news conference, the Los Angeles Fire Department said it treated seven people at the scene and transported six to local hospitals.
Patrick Gannon, the LAX police chief, said the gunman entered Terminal 3 at 9:20 a.m. He pulled an assault rifle out of his bag and began firing. He moved into the screening area and continued shooting, Gannon said. He got past the checkpoint area and moved further into the terminal.
Authorities tracked him down and shot him near a Burger King.
The Huffington Post reports that the gunman “pulled an assault rifle out of his bag, and opened fire, killing a Transportation Security Administration agent and wounding several others…”. “He moved through a TSA screening area and into an airport terminal, where he continued firing shots. Chief of Airport Police Patrick Gannon said in a press conference that several other people were injured in the shooting, including another TSA employee.”
The report continues: “Officers tracked the individual through the airport and engaged him in gunfire in Terminal 3,” Gannon said at a press conference.
He confirmed that multiple people were transported to the hospital, and that the scene is safe. Fox News reports that the suspect is connected in some way to TSA.”
A witness described to CNN her experience of being barricaded in a room while gun shots went off:
Stay tuned for more.
UPDATE: We previously stated in our headline that the gunman had been shot dead. The suspect, Paul Ciancia was shot by officers Friday and is in critical condition at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on Sunday.
Ciancia shot TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez at point-blank range, killing him and wounding several others. Reports CNN:
Hernandez, 39, was the first TSA officer to die in the line of duty since the agency was created in 2001.
“He took pride in his duty for the American public and for the TSA mission,” his wife, Ana Hernandez, told reporters.
The couple, who married in 1998, had two children.
Two other TSA officers — James Speer, 54, and Tony Grigsby, 36 — were wounded but were released from the hospital.
A traveler who was shot in the leg, 29-year-old Brian Ludmer of Lake Forest, Illinois, was in fair condition Sunday
Ciancia potentially faces the death penalty if found guilty.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.