THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LOS ANGELES — A man carrying a note that said he wanted to “kill TSA” pulled a semi-automatic rifle from a bag and shot his way past a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, cutting down one Transportation Security Administration officer and wounding at least three others, authorities said.
The gunman was wounded in a shootout with police and taken into custody, authorities said.
The attack at the nation’s third-busiest airport sent terrified travelers running for cover and disrupted flights from coast to coast.
The slain employee was the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty in the 12-year history of the agency, which was founded in the aftermath of 9/11.
Two law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly, identified the gunman as Paul Ciancia, 23, of Pennsville, N.J. He had apparently been living in Los Angeles.
He was wearing fatigues and carrying a bag containing a handwritten note that said he wanted to kill TSA employees and “pigs,” according to one of the officials, who was briefed at LAX on the investigation.
The attack began around 9:20 a.m. when the gunman pulled an assault-style rifle from a bag and began firing inside Terminal 3, Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon said. The terminal serves such airlines as Virgin America, AirTran, Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and JetBlue.
The gunman then went to the security screening area, where he fired more shots and went into the secure area of the terminal, Gannon said. Officers exchanged fire with him and seized him, Gannon said.
As gunshots rang out, panicked travelers dropped to the ground. Those who had made it past security ran out of the terminal and onto the tarmac or sought cover inside restaurants and lounges.