Crime & Justice

LAX shooting update: FBI searches home; wounded TSA agent describes ordeal; suspect's family speaks (video)

Wounded TSA agent Tony Grigsby speaks to reporters about his experience during the shooting at LAX on Monday, November 4, 2013.
Wounded TSA agent Tony Grigsby speaks to reporters about his experience during the shooting at LAX on Monday, November 4, 2013.
Jed Kim/ KPCC
Wounded TSA agent Tony Grigsby speaks to reporters about his experience during the shooting at LAX on Monday, November 4, 2013.
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 2: A Los Angeles Police Department officer and her canine leave after making a sweep of the re-opened Terminal 3 a day after a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport November 2, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. The airport is almost back to normal operations a day after a man pulled out an assault rifle and shot his way through security at Terminal 3, killing one Transportation Security Administration worker and wounding several others. Federal officials identified the alleged gunman as Paul Ciancia, 23. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Wounded TSA agent Tony Grigsby speaks to reporters about his experience during the shooting at LAX on Monday, November 4, 2013.
Wounded TSA agent Tony Grigsby speaks to reporters about his experience during the shooting at LAX on Monday, November 4, 2013.
Jed Kim/ KPCC
Wounded TSA agent Tony Grigsby speaks to reporters about his experience during the shooting at LAX on Monday, November 4, 2013.
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.

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6:01 p.m.: LAX head of security addresses arming TSA officials; concerns about removing armed officers from front of airport  
At a press conference Monday, LAX Police Chief Patrick Gannon ran through suspected shooter Paul Ciancia's movements and defended his decision to move armed police from the gates at LAX.
Gannon told reporters that Officer Gerardo Hernandez, who was fatally shot on Friday, was at the base of escalators just inside LAX, where his assignment was to check people for boarding passes and passengers enrolled in pre-check.  That gave officers on the second and third floors time to move passengers and themselves to safety while armed officers engaged the suspect.

"TSA employees who are unarmed did a remarkable job moving passengers to the back of the screening area," Gannon said. " That's what saved lives. By the time the gunman reached the top of the area, he had no one to shoot at."

Gannon also denied claims made earlier by TSA union representatives on AirTalk and elsewhere, that the decision to move officers away from the gates was made, at least partly, to save money. 

Gannon defended the decision to move them and said even if they had been at the checkpoints it probably wouldn’t do any good.

"I didn't save any money nor was I trying to cut costs. I just moved their physical being from one position to another," he said.

Gannon also addressed concerns from the head of the union representing TSA officers suggesting of some of them should be armed, saying he felt it would be a bad idea, and that he'd be more concerned if the solution were to introduce more guns to the area. 

You can listen to the full press conference below: 

LAX Police Chief Patrick Gannon addresses the press

4:32 p.m.: Injured TSA agent Tony Grigsby remembers shooting, fellow officer Hernandez

TSA Agent Tony Grigsby spoke briefly to reporters in front of his house in the Willowbrook area Monday.

Grigsby said that he was trying to get an elderly man to a safe area during Friday's attack. He said he turned around, and that was when the gunman shot him twice, grazing him in the foot.

The TSA officer didn't speak long - just three minutes. It took him just about that long to travel the roughly 50 feet to and from the bank of news cameras stationed outside his home. He walked haltingly, supported by a cane and his mother and grandmother.

"I'm not here for no fame or no glory," Grigsby said. "I came to TSA to protect people. People like my mother. She works at TSA, too. She been there for six years. I'm nobody special. I'm just a regular person. I just felt I had do something at a particular time."

He described his relationship with the TSA agent killed, Gerardo Hernandez, saying Hernandez was "very, very dear to me, a really good friend."

Grigsby choked up when remembering Hernandez.

"Only now it has hit me that I will never see him again.  He was a wonderful person... and I will miss him."

Grigsby said the last time they talked they were joking about going on vacation to Mexico.

Grigsby didn't answer any questions, but a spokesman for the family said Grigsby was planning to return to work once he recovered. 

Listen to his statement here: 

Wounded TSA agent Grigsby remembers LAX shooting

— Jed Kim, KPCC


3:28 p.m.: FBI returns to suspected shooter's home in Sun Valley  

Two FBI agents were at the Sun Valley complex where suspected shooter Paul Ciancia lived Monday  — the same duplex that agents searched Friday after the attack that killed TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez.

KPCC's Erika Aguilar said the agents left the residence with two men.  She added there is still yellow tape in the back of the unit and seems like authorities might have pulled a door off. An extra door is leaning against the backside window of the unit. 

A motorcycle that NBC4 has  identified as Ciancia’s was parked across the street from the complex.

In other news, another search warrant was issued Monday, this one for Ciancia's cell phone, which the FBI says was left in the car that drove Ciancia to LAX. The phone’s battery was missing. 

The search warrant says Ciancia’s note “made reference to his concerns about a New World Order (NWO).”

You can view the full warrant below:

Search warrant

3:02 p.m.: Calabasas High School, where victim taught, sees 'teachable moment'

Shooting victim Brian Ludmer has been recovering after Friday's attack at LAX. The Calabasas high school drama teacher was shot in both legs and is awaiting surgery.

The high school where Ludmer teaches is planning a rally in his honor against gun violence tomorrow at 12:19 p.m. In a press release, Calabasas High's principal says he sees an opportunity to raise student's awareness of the issue:

“Thankfully, Brian is going to be alright. He has a long road to recovery but this is a teachable moment for our students at Calabasas. The students want to show their support of Mr. Ludmer and take a stance against gun violence, and this is how they decided to go about it.” Calabasas High Principal CJ Foss said in a statement.

Brian Ludmer recovering on Twitter

11:22 a.m.: Ciancia's family speaks for first time since shooting

The family of suspected LAX gunman Paul Ciancia gave a statement Monday expressing sympathy for the victims and apologizing for the inconveniences experienced by thousands of travelers whose plans were disrupted after last Friday's shooting at the nation's third busiest airport.

Family attorney John Jordan read a prepared statement outside the police department in Pennsville, N.J., the town where Ciancia grew up.

"We, like most Americans, are shocked and numbed by the tragic events of last Friday," the attorney said, reading from the statement.

The message conveyed that the family was cooperating with law enforcement and that they wanted to express their sympathy for the family of Gerardo Hernandez, the TSA agent killed in the shooting. 

The statement continued that it was the family's hope that those wounded would experience quick recoveries and that they were sorry for the inconvenience to travelers.

In their message, the Ciancia family also asked for the public's understanding that this was a difficult time for them, too.

"Paul was our son and brother. We will continue to love and care for him. We will support him during the difficult times ahead," the attorney read.

Family Press conference on Youtube

Meanwhile, officials at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center have announced one of the shooting victims, Calabasas teacher Brian Ludmer, is now in good condition.

Ludmer still faces at least one additional surgery for a leg fractured by a bullet wound, according to an emailed statement from a hospital spokeswoman, who noted that Ludmer and his family are declining to be interviewed at this time.

6:42 a.m.: Suspect still unconscious, airport moving back to normal

Operations at Los Angeles International Airport are moving back to normal, but the shock to the world's airline system is still reverberating, with crews and planes out of position, authorities said.

On Sunday, passengers returned to LAX's Terminal 3 to pick up their abandoned belongings. Drivers also were allowed to pick up their cars in the Terminal 3 parking garage.

At Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, accused shooter Paul Anthony Ciancia remained unconscious.

The Justice Department has filed a charge of murder of a federal official against Ciancia in the Friday morning shooting death of TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez. Ciancia, 23, also faces a charge of commission of violence at an American airport.

Under federal law and policy, Justice Department officials in Washington, D.C., will evaluate the case to determine if they will seek life in federal prison without parole or the death penalty for Ciancia if he is convicted.

"His intention was very, very clear," said David Bowdich, FBI special agent in charge. "He indicated his anger and his malice, I would say, to TSA officers."

The FBI has been unable to interrogate Ciancia, who is hospitalized.

"He has been receiving medical treatment, but at this point, he is unresponsive," Bowdich said.

Bowdich said Ciancia was the lone gunman who killed Hernandez, shot and injured four others and caused two others to be injured in the ensuing panic. The chief federal prosecutor for Los Angeles, Andre Birotte Jr., said Ciancia was armed with a Smith and Wesson .223 caliber M&P assault rifle and carried five loaded magazines into the terminal.

Ciancia also carried a signed, handwritten note, Birotte said.

Ciancia hunted down Transportation Security Administration officers and had written that he wanted to instill fear into the "traitorous minds" of TSA officers, Bowdich said.

The first TSA agent to be killed in the line of duty, Hernandez, of Porter Ranch, was working in the pre-screening area, the first line of defense on the upper level ticketing hall.

Bowdich said video shows Ciancia shooting Hernandez "multiple times and at point blank range" before going up a short escalator to the inspection area.

He then walked back down the escalator to again shoot Hernandez, according to Bowdich.

The agency has requested anyone at the airport who shot images or made recordings to upload them to a specific website:

Information can also be submitted by phone through a tip line: (888) 226-8443.

City Councilman Mike Bonin called the airport police officers' response to the shooting "textbook," and saved "untold lives."

Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated that the shooting suspect had received four gunshot wounds, one to the head, but these details have not been yet been confirmed. The story has been updated.