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Los Angeles Airport Shooter Sentenced To Life In Prison

A Transportation Security Administration officer stands in front of a portrait of slain TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez during his public memorial in 2013 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
Al Seib
A Transportation Security Administration officer stands in front of a portrait of slain TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez during his public memorial in 2013 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

The man who shot and killed a federal airport security screener and injured three others in a 2013 rampage at the Los Angeles International Airport was sentenced to life plus sixty years in prison without parole as part of a plea deal that spared him the possibility of the death penalty.

Paul Anthony Ciancia, 26, had pleaded guilty earlier this year to the murder of Transportation Security Administration officer Gerardo Hernandez and ten other criminal counts. Hernandez, a father of two, is the first TSA agent killed in the line of duty.

Ciancia was an unemployed motorcycle mechanic at the time of the shooting who had relocated to Los Angeles from New Jersey about 18 months earlier.

As the Associated Press reports, Ciancia expressed no remorse for the shootings and left no doubt that his actions were premeditated.

At the time his plea deal was announced, the Los Angeles Times reported that on the day of his attack, Ciancia had texted his siblings calling himself a "pissed-off patriot" who had targeted "tyrants."

In court Monday, Ciancia offered no apologies other than to a teacher who was among the three people he wounded. The Los Angeles Times also reported:

"He referred to being previously harassed by Los Angeles police but gave no specifics, and he indicated that the harassment led him on a path toward violence.

'I knew exactly how I was going to die. I was going to take up arms against my own government,' he said.

He said he targeted TSA officers after coming to believe they were harassing people, including disabled people.

'I wanted to make a statement!' he said in court, his voice rising."

The attack occurred on Nov. 1, 2013 after Ciancia was dropped off at the airport by an unsuspecting roommate. He walked inside, pulled out a semiautomatic rifle from some makeshift luggage, and aimed directly at TSA agent Hernandez. Ciancia then ran past him and up an escalator to a security checkpoint. When he realized that Hernandez wasn't dead, Ciancia returned to the bottom floor and shot Hernandez again, 12 rounds in all.

Ciancia then went back up to the security check point and shot two more TSA agents and a traveler. They were seriously wounded, but they survived the attack.

As part of the plea deal, Ciancia admitted that he had brought 500 rounds of ammunition to the airport and that he had menaced other passengers by asking whether or not they were TSA agents, passing over those who said no.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.

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