An airport police officer cordons off terminals 2 and 3
after the shooting. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A gunman opened fire with an assault rifle in a Los
Angeles International airport terminal, killing a
Transportation Security Administration agent and wounding at
least six other people before he was shot and captured,
The attack set off chaos, with passengers running, diving and
hiding in the crowded terminal of the airport, one of the
world's busiest, where Terminal 3 was quickly evacuated.
Departing flights were halted, arriving planes were diverted,
and streets surrounding the airport were shut down.
"An individual came into Terminal 3 of this airport, pulled
an assault rifle out of a bag and began to open fire in the
terminal," Patrick Gannon, chief of the Los Angeles Airport
Police said at a press conference.
Gannon said the gunman, who appeared to be acting alone, made
his way past the screening gates and well into the secured
area before law enforcement officers shot him and took him
into custody. His condition was not immediately clear.
Authorities did not name the suspect, but California US
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, a member of the House Homeland
Security committee, during an interview on CNN identified him
as 23-year-old Paul Ciancia, a Los Angeles area resident.
Sanchez said she had been briefed by authorities on details
of the attack.
The US Transportation Security Administration said that
multiple agents had been shot, one fatally. The agency did
not identify the slain agent.
A spokesman for the Los Angeles County Coroner said it was
handling one person who was killed in the shooting, a man
approximately 40 years old who was not identified by name. It
was not immediately clear if that person was the TSA agent.
A Los Angeles fire department spokesman said seven people
were wounded in the shooting and that six of them had been
taken to area hospitals.
Three male victims hurt in the incident were taken to Ronald
Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where one was listed in critical
condition and two others in fair condition, said Mark
Wheeler, a spokesman for the hospital.
The condition of the other victims or the gunman was not
Jose Mares, who was catching a flight back to his home in
Norman, Oklahoma, with his wife, told Reuters he was about 20
to 30 yards away from the suspect on the second level of
Terminal 3 when the man opened fire.
Mares, 31, said he used his own body to shield his wife from
"As I'm getting on top of her I'm reaching for more luggage
and that's when I stacked luggage like two-high and then made
a row of luggage," he said. "I was in the corner and I'm
looking at the guy just shooting randomly, like I saw a TSA
(agent) go down."
Mares said when the shooter looked and pointed in his
direction and appeared headed toward them, he told his wife:
"... once I say three you better run. Once I had the
opportunity as he is looking down the escalator, that's when
I told her 'OK, let's go. Let's run.'"
Witness Alex Neumann, meanwhile, told cable network CNN that
he was in an area inside the airport past a security
checkpoint when he heard loud noises and screaming and saw
people running in a scene that amounted to mayhem.
"We were at the food court and all of a sudden I hear a big
commotion and people started running. People were running and
people getting knocked down," Neumann said, adding that he
heard screams. "Mayhem is the best way of describing it."
Television images showed at least one person being loaded
into one of several ambulances at the scene, and passengers
were seen being evacuated from the area.
Footage showed emergency responders setting up what appeared
to be a triage area outside an airport terminal.
"The general public is being held back... Other than arriving
flights, flight operations have been temporary held," airport
spokeswoman Katherine Alvarado said in an emailed statement.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the incident and White
House officials are in touch with law enforcement officials
on the ground, White House spokesman Jay Carney told
"We're concerned about it, but I'll let law enforcement folks
talk about it directly," Obama told reporters in the Oval
Office after meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri
Los Angeles International Airport is the world's sixth
busiest, handling 63,688,121 passengers in 2012, according to
its official website.