Suspected L.A. airport gunman planned 'suicide' mission -Congressman

Reuters

Nov 3 (Reuters) - The suspected gunman in last week's deadlyattack at Los Angeles International Airport wrote a note sayinghe intended to die after killing at least one security officer,the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Securitysaid on Sunday.

Twenty-three-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia also discussedweaknesses in airport security in the "suicide" note beforeFriday's attack, Michael McCaul, the Republican congressman fromTexas who chairs the committee, told CNN.

Ciancia is accused of fatally shooting a TransportationSecurity Administration officer, the first employee from theagency to die in the line of duty since it was created 12 yearsago. Airport police shot and wounded the gunman, ending therampage.

"It's clearly one of those notes that reads, 'I'm going tokill people and I don't want to kill civilians,' with the ideathat he's going to die at the end of this," McCaul, who said hehad read the note, told CNN.

He said the note "talks a lot about killing TSA agents, andhe said, 'If I just kill one, my mission is accomplished.'"

In a criminal complaint filed on Saturday, investigatorssaid they found a handwritten letter signed by Ciancia in hisbag that addressed TSA officials, writing that he wanted to"instill fear in your traitorous minds."

It was not immediately clear whether McCaul was referring tothe same note mentioned in the complaint.

Authorities charge that Ciancia walked into the airport'sTerminal 3 on Friday morning, took out an assault rifle from hisbag and opened fire, shooting dead Gerardo Hernandez, a39-year-old TSA officer at a document checkpoint.

Ciancia, authorities charge, then went on to shoot and woundtwo other TSA employees and a passenger, prompting a panickedevacuation of the world's sixth-busiest airport.

The U.S. attorney in Los Angeles has charged Ciancia withmurdering a federal officer and committing violence at aninternational airport, crimes that carry the threat of executionif Ciancia is convicted.

McCaul suggested that the suspected shooter wanted todemonstrate what he viewed as lax security at airports.

"The other thing he wanted to talk about was how easy it isto bring a gun into an airport and do something just like hedid," McCaul said of the note.

McCaul also said that police visited Ciancia's home afterbeing alerted by worried relatives, but he had already left forthe airport about 45 minutes before.

Ciancia's father, who lives in Pennsville Township, NewJersey, called local police before the shooting after Ciancia,who moved to California 18 months ago and lives in suburban LosAngeles, sent his brother a worrisome text message.

McCaul said police in Pennsville contacted Los Angelespolice, who then "visited the suspect's home the morning of theshooting and missed him by literally, probably, 45 minutes."

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Police Department said onSunday she was unable to confirm or deny McCaul's assertion.

In a message on Twitter, the Los Angeles Airport PoliceDivision warned passengers to expect delays on Sunday as theairport returns to "full operations."

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