November 4, 2013

LAX suspect's family expresses sympathy to victims

It isn’t known why the suspect, who remains heavily sedated and under guard, targeted TSA workers.

By Tami Abdollah
The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – Relatives of the suspect charged in last week's Los Angeles airport shooting offered sympathy Monday to the family of the TSA officer who was killed, saying they were "shocked and numbed" by the deadly rampage.

click image to enlarge

Transportation Security Administration Officer Alexa Mendoza lights a candle at a memorial to TSA officers killed and wounded at Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday. TSA Officer Gerardo I. Hernandez was killed and two officers and one civilian wounded in the shooting at Terminal 3 on Friday.

The Associated Press

click image to enlarge

Security officers check a vehicle at a perimeter access road to Los Angeles International Airport on Monday. Operations at the airport were back to normal Monday, the first business day since a gunman killed a TSA agent there.

The Associated Press

An attorney for the family of Paul Ciancia said his relatives also expressed hope for the recovery of the other victims and regret for the travel disruption caused by the attack on the nation's third-busiest airport.

Family lawyer John Jordan read a brief statement outside the town hall in Pennsville, a working-class town near Wilmington, Del., where Ciancia grew up.

"Paul is our son and brother. We will continue to love him and care for him and support him during the difficult times ahead," Jordan said on the family's behalf.

The relatives, who had not spoken publicly before, said they were cooperating with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.

Jordan, who is also the town's municipal judge, did not take questions.

Ciancia, a 23-year-old unemployed motorcycle mechanic, is accused of shooting his way past an airport checkpoint with a .223-caliber rifle he pulled from a duffel bag. He was wounded in a shootout with airport police.

Prosecutors have charged him with murder of a federal officer in the death of TSA screener Gerardo I. Hernandez and committing violence at an international airport.

In the Ciancia family's neighborhood in New Jersey, stop signs at either end of the street were adorned with stickers advertising Infowars.com, a website that discusses many of the same anti-government ideas officials said Ciancia mentioned in a hand-written note found in his bag. There was no way to tell who put the stickers on the signs.

Orange construction cones blocked the family's long driveway, and two police officers were at the auto-body shop owned by Ciancia's father, also named Paul.

On Monday, the FBI revisited the suspect's Los Angeles apartment — the same duplex that agents searched Friday.

On the morning of the shooting, Ciancia entered his roommate's room unannounced and asked to be driven to the airport, authorities said in an affidavit supporting a search warrant.

The roommate agreed, taking the suspect to Terminal 3. The attack began minutes later. He told authorities he did not learn of the shooting until after returning to the apartment.

On Monday, a man was escorted out of the apartment and drove away in a black Hyundai — the same type of car that authorities said was seen in surveillance video dropping off Ciancia at the airport. The FBI would not identify the man or discuss the investigation.

Neighbors say they remembered little or nothing about Ciancia. Some did not even recognize his photograph.

Ciancia, who was shot four times before being subdued, remained in critical condition. He has not been scheduled to appear in court. Any appearance will depend on when his doctors say he's ready, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

The TSA said the other two officers wounded in the attack — James Speer, 54, and Tony Grigsby, 36 — were released from the hospital.

Grigsby read a statement outside his South Los Angeles home Monday, saying he was trying to help an elderly man get to safety when he was shot twice in the right foot. He fought back tears as he called Hernandez a wonderful person who will be missed.

"Only now it has hit me that I will never see him again," Grigsby said.

(Continued on page 2)

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