LAX shooting: Paul Ciancia charged with first-degree murder in slaying of TSA officer

LAX Shooting

FBI/AP

This photo provided by the FBI shows Paul Ciancia, 23. Authorities say Ciancia pulled a semi-automatic rifle from a bag and shot his way past a security checkpoint at the airport, killing a security officer and wounding other people. Ciancia was injured in a shootout and taken into custody, police said. (AP Photo/FBI)

A federal grand jury Tuesday charged Paul Anthony Ciancia with first-degree murder in an 11-count indictment related to the fatal shooting of a Transportation Security Administration Officer at Los Angeles International Airport last month, the Department of Justice announced in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

Ciancia is charged with murdering Gerardo Hernandez, an officer and employee of the United States, while Officer Hernandez was engaged in his official duties on Nov. 1, the department reported.

The indictment also charges Ciancia with attempted murder in the shooting of TSA Officers Tony Leroy Grigsby and James Maurice Speer and with using a rifle to commit acts of violence against persons at an international airport, including Brian Donovan Ludmer, a Calabasas High School theater teacher who was wounded during the rampage.

Related: LAX shooting: Calabasas High students rally in support of injured teacher (photos)

The indictment alleges that Ciancia, 23, used a Smith & Wesson 5.56-millimeter M&P15 semiautomatic rifle to shoot the three TSA officers.

The indictment also contains one count alleging that Ciancia knowingly used a firearm to murder and cause death, and three counts alleging that he did “knowingly carry, brandish, discharge and use a firearm” when he shot the three surviving victims.

Three charges involved with the fatal shooting of Officer Hernandez — first-degree murder, violence at an international airport that resulted in death, and using a firearm to murder and cause death — each carry possible sentences of life in federal prison or the death penalty, according to the DOJ.

Indictment allegations of premeditation and the murder of a federal law enforcement officer would support a death sentence, but the government has not made a decision on seeking the death penalty if Ciancia is convicted of any of the charges.

Other possible penalties include a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for the two attempted-murder charges and each of the three charges based on violence against the surviving victims. The three counts alleging the use of a firearm each carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years that would be served consecutively to any other sentences that are enforced.

The indictment, which replaces the criminal complaint filed soon after the shooting incident, was filed in United States District Court after the grand jury determined that there was “probable cause” to find that Ciancia committed the 11 felony offenses. Ciancia is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on Dec. 26.

RELATED: Full coverage of the shooting at LAX

KPCC is trying to reach Ciancia's lawyers for comment and will update this story when we have more.

Ciancia Indictment

 

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