Airport Shooting Suspect Charged With Killing TSA Officer in Court

Image: Airport Shooting Suspect Charged With Killing TSA Officer in Court

Thursday, 05 Dec 2013 09:09 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Los Angeles Airport shooting suspect Paul Ciancia made his first court appearance Wednesday.

The 23-year-old was charged with killing a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer and wounding two other agents as well as a civilian during a shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. 1.

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Wednesday's court appearance marked the first time Ciancia had been seen in public since he single handedly shut down one of the nation’s busiest airports, the impact of which was felt by airports across the country.

During the 10-minute hearing, the Pennsville, N.J.-born Ciancia showed no emotion and spoke in whispers as U.S. Magistrate Judge David Bristow asked the alleged shooter if he understood the charges against him, the Associated Press reported.

With a bandage on his neck and bruises across the left side of his face, Ciancia reportedly whispered back "yes." His lawyers did not comment on his injuries, the AP noted.

Ciancia, who at the time of the shooting was an unemployed motorcycle mechanic, had been shot four times by responding police officers, with one bullet reportedly hitting him in the mouth.

Ciancia is currently being held under federal custody at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, which is located approximately 45 miles east of Los Angeles.

The 23-year-old alleged shooter did not enter a plea on Wednesday. If convicted on the murder charge, he faces a possible death penalty.

The next hearing, scheduled for Dec. 18, could be waived if a grand jury indicts Ciancia, the AP reported.

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The Nov. 1 LAX rampage shooting was reportedly spurred by Ciancia's deep hatred for the U.S. government. In a one-page letter recovered by authorities in Ciancia's bag, the shooting suspect reportedly referred to himself as a "Patriot" who had "made a conscious decision to kill" TSA employees.

The note is reminiscent of manifestos left by other anti-government extremists, including Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, and Joseph Stack, who flew his small plane into the Austin, Tex., IRS building in 2010, according to JJ MacNab, who writes about anti-government extremists for Forbes magazine.

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