LA airport shooting suspect faces charges of murder of a federal officer

Saturday 02 November 2013 23.28
Shooting dead of agent at LA airport sparks huge security alert
Shooting dead of agent at LA airport sparks huge security alert

LA airport shooting suspect faces charges of murder of a federal officer, the US attorney says the death penalty could be sought.

The LAX terminal where the gunman killed an unarmed federal airport security agent and injured others has re-opened.

Investigators are seeking a motive into the attack.
              
The alleged suspect is named as Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23.

He was shot and injured by police in an exchange of gunfire at the airport's busy Terminal three.
              
The gunman shot at least two Transportation Security Administration employees, one fatally, said Special Agent David Bowdich of the FBI.

The slain TSA agent was identified as Gerardo Hernandez, 39, was the first from the agency to die in the line of duty.

The Los Angeles airport said on its Twitter feed that it had no timetable for when the FBI would complete its investigation.

Passengers who had left luggage and other property behind as they ran to escape the gunfire are still not able to collect their belongings, but the airport says it hopes they will be allowed in soon.

Several airlines, including Virgin America and Spirit Airlines have warned of delays and cancellations.

Another airline Frontier Airlines, announced it would operate out of Terminal two today.
              
Late yesterday, FBI agents armed with a search warrant combed through Mr Ciancia's home in the Los Angeles area.
              
The gunman had an assault rifle and touched off panic and chaos at one of the world's busiest airports. 

Hundreds of travellers ran for safety or frantically dove for cover behind luggage, and loud alarms blared through the terminal.
              
The gunman, a US citizen who appeared to be acting alone, pushed through the screening gates and ran into an area where passengers were boarding flights.

The officers shot him at least once and took him into custody, he said.
              
Paramedics took five of the injured at the scene of the shooting to area hospitals,Los Angeles Fire Department officials said. 

But they could not say if all of those people had been shot.

Suspect's text message in New Jersey             

In New Jersey, police and FBI agents descended on Ciancia's family's home in Pennsville Township.

Pennsville Police Chief Allen Cummings said he had been contacted by Ciancia's father before the shooting, prompted by a worrisome text message from the young man to his brother.

The police chief declined to say more about what was in the text message.

He said that family members told investigators they had no previous indications that Mr Ciancia, who moved to California about 18 months ago, was troubled.
              
A US official who asked not to be identified said federal investigators were trying to determine if the gunman had been targeting TSA agents in the rampage.
              
The incident affected an estimated 1,550 arriving and departing flights carrying over 167,000 passengers, airports spokeswoman Nancy Castles said in a statement.

A number of those flights were grounded or diverted as police evacuated passengers and shut down three terminals.

The terminal has now re-opened.