LOS ANGELES (AP) — The gunman accused of shooting employees and terrorizing travelers at Los Angeles International Airport accomplished two of his goals: kill a Transportation Security Administration officer and show how easy it is to get a gun into an airport.
Paul Ciancia's deadly rampage left investigators to piece together what motivated his hatred toward the agency formed to make air travel safer after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, but could ultimately lead to changes in the way airports are patrolled.
Ciancia was shot four times by airport police, including in the mouth, and remains heavily sedated and under 24-hour armed guard at the hospital, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Sunday. The official was not authorized to speak publicly on the case and requested anonymity.
The FBI said he had a handwritten letter, stating that he made the conscious decision to try to kill multiple TSA officers and "instill fear in your traitorous minds."
The unemployed motorcycle mechanic who recently moved to Los Angeles from the small, blue-collar town of Pennsville, N.J., had a friend drop him at LAX on Friday just moments before he pulled a .223-caliber assault rifle from his duffel bag and opened fire, killing one TSA officer and wounding three other people, including two more TSA workers.
Officials do not believe that the friend knew of the shooter's plans. Ciancia arrived at the airport in a black Hyundai and was not a ticketed passenger.
Ciancia is facing charges of murder of a federal officer and committing violence at an international airport. The charges could qualify him for the death penalty. It was not immediately clear when he would make a first court appearance given his medical condition.
In court documents and interviews, authorities spelled out a chilling chain of events, saying Ciancia walked into the airport's Terminal 3, pulled the assault rifle from his duffel bag and fired repeatedly at 39-year-old TSA officer Gerardo I. Hernandez. He went up an escalator, turned back to see Hernandez move and returned to shoot him again, according to surveillance video reviewed by investigators.
He then fired on two other uniformed TSA employees and an airline passenger, who all were wounded, as he moved methodically through the security checkpoint to the passenger gate area before airport police shot him as panicked travelers hid in stores and restaurants.
It wasn't clear why Ciancia targeted TSA officers, but what he left behind indicated he was willing to kill any of them that crossed his path, authorities revealed.
The letter in his duffel bag refers to how Ciancia believed his constitutional rights were being violated by TSA searches and that he's a "pissed-off patriot" upset at former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
"Black, white, yellow, brown, I don't discriminate," the note read, according to a paraphrase by a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
The screed also mentioned "fiat currency" and "NWO," possible references to the New World Order, a conspiracy theory that foresees a totalitarian one-world government.
The letter also talked about "how easy it is to get a gun into the airport," the law enforcement official said.
When searched, the suspect had five 30-round magazines, and his bag contained hundreds more rounds in boxes.
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday that Ciancia's actions show how difficult it is to protect travelers at a massive airport such as LAX.
The terminals are open and easily accessible to thousands of people who arrive at large sliding glass doors via a broad ring road that fronts the facility and is designed to move people along quickly.
"It's like a shopping mall outside the perimeter, it's almost like an open shopping mall," McCaul said.
TSA Administrator John Pistole said the agency will need to work with each airport's police agency "to see how we'll go about in providing the best possible security."
The FBI has served a search warrant on a Sun Valley residence where Ciancia lived, Ari Dekofsky, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Los Angeles field office, said Sunday. Agents are still interviewing people, she said.
Authorities believe the rifle used in the shooting was purchased in Los Angeles. Ciancia also had two additional handguns that he purchased in Los Angeles, but which weren't at the crime scene, a law enforcement official said. The official, who has been briefed on the investigation, was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
The purchases themselves appeared legal, although authorities were still tracing them, and it's unclear if the shooter used his own identification or someone else's, the official said.
"He didn't buy them on the street. He didn't buy them on the Internet," the official said. "He bought them from a licensed gun dealer — the rifle and the two handguns."
Hernandez, a three-year veteran of the TSA, moved to the U.S. from El Salvador at age 15, married his sweetheart, Ana, on Valentine's Day in 1998 and had two children.
The TSA said the other two officers wounded in the attack — James Speer, 54, and Tony Grigsby, 36 — were released from the hospital.
Brian Ludmer, a Calabasas High School teacher, remained in fair condition at Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center and will need surgery for a gunshot wound to the leg. Two other people suffered injuries trying to evade the gunman, but weren't shot.
The FBI was still looking into Ciancia's past, but investigators said they had not found evidence of previous crimes or any run-ins with the TSA. They said he had never applied for a job with the agency.
Investigators believe Aaron Alexis, a former Navy reservist, was the lone gunman in the shooting spree at the Navy Yard in Washington D.C. earlier today in which 12 people were killed before the suspect was killed in a firefight with police, and authorities have lifted a shelter in place for the remaining residents in the area.
The 12 deceased shooting victims range in age from 46 to 73 years old, Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said at an evening news conference. Officials are still notifying the families of about half of the 12 people who were killed, he said.
"We have no evidence that any active military are amongst the victims," Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier said.
Police identified the seven victims whose families had been notified as: Michael Arnold, 59; Sylvia Fraiser, 53; Kathy Gaarde, 62; John Roger Johnson, 73; Frank Kohler, 50; Kenneth Bernard Proctor, 46; and Vishnu Pandit, 61.
The death of Alexis, 34, of Fort Worth, Texas, brought the toll of the carnage at the Navy Sea Systems Command headquarters to 13. The shooter's identity was confirmed based on a partial finger print analysis, authorities said.
The suspect had a security clearance that allowed him onto the Navy Yard as part of his civilian subcontracting work, officials said.
Alexis and members of the subcontracting team, according to law enforcement sources, were staying at a Residence Inn about a mile from the Navy Yard. The suspect's car was found on the Washington Navy Yard, law enforcement sources said.
A senior law enforcement official said he used his security clearance to get on campus and it appeared he did not force his way onto the property. Officials were in the process of getting a search warrant to search the vehicle, which was described as a rental car.
Authorities had earlier said they were searching for a possible second suspect, but officials said at the evening news conference said the search for a black suspect in olive-drab uniform age 40 to 50 has been exhausted.
Earlier Monday, Lanier praised the works by police officers who responded to the incident.
"I think the actions by the police officers, without question, helped to reduce the number of lives lost," she said.
Lanier said police and the suspect exchanged gunfire "multiple times" before he was shot and killed in a final gun battle.
Valerie Parlave, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Washington D.C. field office, said investigators were trying to learn everything they can about Alexis.
"No piece of information is too small," Parlave said.
She asked anyone with information about his recent movements, contacts and associates to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Another man who was sought for a possible connection to the shooting was located this afternoon and was no longer a "suspect or person of interest," according to a tweet from the Metropolitan Police Department.
Lanier declined to discuss what evidence led police to believe the massacre could have potentially been carried out by more than one person.
"We have reason to believe these people may be involved and we want to talk to them," Lanier said at an afternoon news conference. She said there was "no known motive" for the massacre.
Among the wounded was a law enforcement officer who was shot in an exchange with the gunman.
The shooting brought parts of Washington D.C. to a standstill.
The Washington Nationals, whose stadium is a couple blocks away from the Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters, said the team's game tonight against the Atlanta Braves was postponed until Tuesday.
The Senate complex was placed under a temporary lockdown this afternoon "in light of the uncertainty surrounding the shooting" and the possibility that a second shooter might have been at large, Senate Sergeant at Arms Terrance W. Gainer wrote in a note to the Senate community.
At nearby Reagan National Airport this morning, a ground stop was imposed by the FAA. All planes have since resumed flying out of the airport, a Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokeswoman told ABC News.
Nine D.C. public schools were placed on lock downs this morning, according to the District of Columbia Public Schools' Twitter account, but all schools were dismissed as scheduled this afternoon.
Washington D.C. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton told reporters the district has not "had a day like this since 9/11."
President Obama ordered the flags at all federal and military installations to be flown at half-staff through Friday in honor of the victims.
At the beginning of a news conference today, Obama said he was briefed on the shooting.
"We are confronting yet another mass shooting, and today it happened on a military installation in our nation's capital," he said.
Obama said he wanted a "seamless" investigation into the shooting and was standing with the victims and their families affected by what he called a "cowardly act."
"It targeted our military and civilian personnel, men and women who were going to work, doing their job protecting all of us. They are patriots and they know the dangers of serving abroad," Obama said. "But today they faced the unimaginable violence that they won't have expected here at home."
Two Officers Among the Injured
Two law enforcement officers were among the injured when the suspect fired shots inside the 3,000-person building at 8:20 a.m. Law enforcement officials initially told personnel to evacuate the building but they were later told to shelter in place.
A spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent a team of special agents to help secure the scene. This is the same team that helped apprehend Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, according to the spokesman.
Three gunshot victims were taken to Washington Medical Center with "severe injuries," according to Janis Orlowski, chief medical officer at the hospital.
The victims were described as a male Metropolitan police officer who had "multiple gunshot wounds to his legs," a woman who was shot in the head and the hand and another woman who was shot in the shoulder.
Orlowski said all three were in critical condition, however they were conscious and were expected to survive.
Navy Yard Witnesses Heard Series of Loud Pops
Patricia Ward, a logistics management specialist at the Navy Yard, said she heard a series of shots, at least seven, in rapid succession.
"A few of us just ran outside the side exit," Ward said.
Outside the building she saw a security guard with her gun drawn who told them to run and shelter.
Ward said the building has security.
"You need a card to enter the building. It's very hard to get in without a card," she said.
"Being with the incident that happened today, not secure enough for me," Ward said.
Frank Putzo, an attorney at the Navy Yard, told ABC News affiliate WJLA-TV he was on the fourth floor of the building when the shooting began.
"We heard three sounds, it sounded like a table collapsing on the ground," he said.
He said he came out of his office and heard a "very loud pop" about a minute later that he estimated was about 100 feet away.
"When that happened everyone said, 'This is no drill, go, go, go,'" he said. "And a whole bunch of us were able to make it to the emergency exits. And we heard several more shots."
The Naval Sea Systems Command, the largest of the Navy's five commands, is responsible for engineering, building, buying and maintaining ships, submarines and combat systems in the Navy's fleet.
The shooting took place while the troops were visiting the facility to help train the Afghans, a key part of the U.S. handover strategy before combat troops leave in 2014. According to coalition officials, the shooting also left several wounded.
A joint U.S.-Afghan team is investigating the shooting.
This latest insider attack in Wardak, a restive province in the country's east, comes one day after a deadline set by Afghan President Hamid Karzai for all U.S. Special Forces to leave the province. Karzai set the deadline two weeks ago, after accusing Afghans who work for U.S. Special Forces of harassing, torturing and murdering innocent civilians.
The attack also comes just a day after new U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's trip to Afghanistan, one marred by controversy.
Osama bin Laden's Son-in-Law Pleads Not Guilty in NYC Court Watch Video On Saturday, a suicide bomber on a bicycle struck just outside the Afghan Ministry of Defense, one of the most heavily fortified buildings in the country. At least nine Afghan civilians were killed. Though Hagel was in a meeting at a coalition military base at the time and never in any danger, nearby bases were put into lockdown, and reporters travelling with Hagel's press pool were ushered into a safe room in the basement of the base they were on.
Then on Sunday, Karzai implied the Taliban were serving U.S. interests by creating instability in Afghanistan. The inflammatory comments were made during a nationally televised speech.
Referring to recent insurgent attacks, including the one outside the Ministry of Defense, Karzai said the attacks were "not aimed at showing their strength to the USA, but to serve the USA.
"In fact, yesterday's bombings in the name of the Taliban were aimed at serving the foreigners and supporting the presence of the foreigners in Afghanistan and keeping them in Afghanistan, by intimidating us," Karzai said.
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph Dunford, quickly rejected the comments, calling them "categorically false."
"We have fought too hard over the past 12 years, we have shed too much blood over the last 12 years, to ever think that violence or instability would be to our advantage," Dunford said.
Later that evening, Hagel cancelled a scheduled joint press conference with Karzai. A spokesperson cited security concerns, though a Karzai spokesperson said it was due to "scheduling pressures." The two still held a private dinner meeting with Dunford in attendance, but the cancellation of the joint press conference was widely seen as a snub to Karzai in response to his inflammatory remarks.