LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Paul Ciancia, who is accused of a deadly shooting spree at Los Angeles International Airport, will be moved from a San Bernardino jail medical facility to a federal facility in downtown Los Angeles within the next few weeks, prosecutors said at a hearing Monday.
At the hearing, federal prosecutors also said they will recommend in July whether the death penalty should be sought against the 23-year-old suspect, who has been charged with the murder of a federal officer and violence in an international airport. Ciancia was present at Monday’s hearing, clad in green jail clothing and shackled at the wrist and ankles. He was unshackled for the brief hearing.
Ciancia was accused of storming into LAX’s Terminal 3 last Nov. 1 with an assault rifle, killing Transportation Security Administration agent Gerardo Hernandez. The 11-count indictment against Ciancia also charged him with two counts of attempted murder for the shootings of TSA officers Tony Grigsby and James Speer. Brian Ludmer, a Calabasas teacher, was also wounded.
During the shooting spree, Ciancia was allegedly carrying a handwritten, signed note saying he wanted to kill TSA agents and “instill fear in their traitorous minds,” along with dozens of rounds of ammunition. Witnesses to the shooting said the gunman asked them whether they worked for the TSA, and if they said no, he moved on.
Ciancia was shot in the head and leg during a gun battle with airport police. He spent more than two weeks at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center before he was moved to the San Bernardino facility.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick R. Fitzgerald says they will work toward providing their recommendation as to a possible death sentence by July 21.
The ultimate decision on whether death is an appropriate penalty in the case is up to Attorney General Eric Holder. The final decision in Ciancia’s case is likely to come at least three months after the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles makes its recommendation to Holder’s office, Fitzgerald said.
U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez said previously that Ciancia’s trial would be delayed until a decision had been made on whether to seek the death penalty. Another status conference was scheduled for Aug. 11.
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