LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Officials have identified Paul Anthony Ciancia as the gunman they say took deadly aim at TSA agents at LAX on Friday. But not much is known about the suspect.
Authorities say the alleged shooter is 23 years old, originally hails from Pennsville, N.J., and has lived in the Southland for about a year and a half.
Police said Ciancia came to the airport heavily armed, wearing fatigues, and used an AR-15 assault rifle in his rampage.
The Associated Press reported a hand-written note was also found on his person. The note suggested he was out “to kill TSA and pigs.”
Sources told CBS News that Ciancia held anti-government views. The FBI, however, has not ascribed a motive for Friday’s attack.
A classmate told the LA Times that Ciancia was bullied at their private high school.
“In four years, I never heard a word out of his mouth,” recalled classmate David Hamilton. “He kept to himself and ate lunch alone a lot.”
Another student didn’t remember Ciancia being bullied but definitely thought of him as a loner with no friends.
CBS2’s Investigative Reporter David Goldstein said Ciancia texted family back in New Jersey early Friday morning and said he was suicidal. Ciancia’s father called local police who, in turn, called the LAPD.
During a welfare check, the suspect’s two roommates said they hadn’t seen Ciancia since Thursday but that he was fine.
One witness to Friday’s shootings said the gunman appeared clean-cut and that even during the rampage he walked around aimlessly — “like he was going to buy tea.”
The suspect was reportedly wounded when security officers returned gunfire during the rampage, but officials as of Friday evening did not reveal his condition.
Rachel Kim, reporting for CBS2, said Ciancia has no criminal background.
She spoke to a restaurant owner that said Ciancia frequented his place, Morrison Gastro Pub.
“I would never have suspected that he would be that guy today,” said Marc Kreiner. “He was very quiet, very respectful. He would acknowledge me, he’d put his hand out and shake my hand. And I would see him on the street walking, I guess he lived over here, but I was just torn apart when I heard what happened.”
Kim also spoke to retired FBI agent in an effort to understand Ciancia’s possible motive.
“Sometimes it could be political beliefs or it could be a religious belief,” said Patrick Conley, managing director of Risk Controlled Strategies. “It just could be psychosis. Sometimes people have delusions.”