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Updated: 11/05/2013 01:19:01AM

LAX suspect under guard

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Lighted pylons at the Century Boulevard entrance to Los Angeles International Airport, which normally flash in a multicolored sequence, shine a steady blue Saturday evening, Nov. 2, 2013, in honor of Gerardo Hernandez, the Transportation Security Administration officer slain at an LAX terminal Friday. He is the first TSA officer to die in the line of duty in the history of the 12-year-old agency, created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. A police entry checkpoint, part of an increased visible police presence, is seen in the foreground. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Lighted pylons at the Century Boulevard entrance to Los Angeles International Airport, which normally flash in a multicolored sequence, shine a steady blue Saturday evening, Nov. 2, 2013, in honor of Gerardo Hernandez, the Transportation Security Administration officer slain at an LAX terminal Friday. He is the first TSA officer to die in the line of duty in the history of the 12-year-old agency, created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. A police entry checkpoint, part of an increased visible police presence, is seen in the foreground. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

This booking photo provided by the Aurora police Department shows John Stanley Snorsky, who is accused of briefly kidnapping an 8-year-old Aurora, Colo. girl from her bedroom. Snorsky is due in an Aurora court Monday Nov. 4, 2013 and faces charges of kidnapping and burglary. Police said Snorsky carried the girl from her bedroom to an alley behind her home last week, where she screamed and managed to break free. (AP Photo/Aurora Police Department)

FILE - This Aug. 19, 2010 file photo provided by the Mohave County Sheriff's Office shows Arizona inmate John Charles McCluskey after he was captured at a campsite in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Ariz. Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys for convicted killer John McCluskey are scheduled to deliver closing arguments Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in the first phase of his sentencing trial. It will be up to jurors to decide whether the death penalty will be an option as they consider punishing McCluskey for the August 2010 slayings of an Oklahoma couple following his escape from an Arizona prison. (AP Photo/Mohave County Sheriff's Office, File)

John S. Pistole, left, Administrator of Transportation Security Administration and Ana Hernandez, center, wife of TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez, victim at LAX shooting, before a press conference in Porter Ranch, Calif. on Saturday Nov. 2, 2013. A gunman armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, killing a Transportation Security Administration employee and wounding two other people in an attack that frightened passengers and disrupted flights nationwide. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

John S. Pistole, left, Administrator of Transportation Security Administration and Ana Hernandez, center, wife of TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez, victim at LAX shooting, before a press conference in Porter Ranch, Calif. on Saturday Nov. 2, 2013. A gunman armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, killing a Transportation Security Administration employee and wounding two other people in an attack that frightened passengers and disrupted flights nationwide. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

John S. Pistole, left, Administrator of Transportation Security Administration and Ana Hernandez, center, wife of TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez, victim at LAX shooting, before a press conference in Porter Ranch, Calif. on Saturday Nov. 2, 2013. A gunman armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, killing a Transportation Security Administration employee and wounding two other people in an attack that frightened passengers and disrupted flights nationwide. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

John S. Pistole, left, Administrator of Transportation Security Administration and Ana Hernandez, center, wife of TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez, victim at LAX shooting, before a press conference in Porter Ranch, Calif. on Saturday Nov. 2, 2013. A gunman armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, killing a Transportation Security Administration employee and wounding two other people in an attack that frightened passengers and disrupted flights nationwide. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

John S. Pistole, left, Administrator of Transportation Security Administration and Ana Hernandez, center, wife of TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez, victim at LAX shooting, before a press conference in Porter Ranch, Calif. on Saturday Nov. 2, 2013. A gunman armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, killing a Transportation Security Administration employee and wounding two other people in an attack that frightened passengers and disrupted flights nationwide. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

John S. Pistole, left, Administrator of Transportation Security Administration and Ana Hernandez, center, wife of TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez, victim at LAX shooting, before a press conference in Porter Ranch, Calif. on Saturday Nov. 2, 2013. A gunman armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, killing a Transportation Security Administration employee and wounding two other people in an attack that frightened passengers and disrupted flights nationwide. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

This photo shows the first page of the complaint filed by the United States Attorney's office in Los Angeles against Paul Anthony Ciancia on Nov. 2, 2013. Ciancia is charged with two counts - violations of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Sections 1114 and 37, in connection with a shooting spree that killed one Transportation Security Administration officer and the wounding of others at Terminal 3 of Los Angeles International Airport Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/U.S. Attorney)

This photo provided by the Calabasas Courier, a student publication of Calabasas, Calif., High School, shows teacher Brian Ludmer in Sept. 2012. Ludmer, 29, was the lone civilian wounded by gunfire in the shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. Ludmer remained in fair condition at Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the leg. Two other people suffered injuries trying to evade the gunman, but weren't shot. (AP Photo/Calabasas Courier)

This photo provided by the Calabasas Courier, a student publication of Calabasas, Calif., High School, shows teacher Brian Ludmer in Sept. 2012. Ludmer, 29, was the lone civilian wounded by gunfire in the shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. Ludmer remained in fair condition at Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the leg. Two other people suffered injuries trying to evade the gunman, but weren't shot. (AP Photo/Calabasas Courier)

This photo provided by the Calabasas Courier, a student publication of Calabasas, Calif., High School, shows teacher Brian Ludmer in Sept. 2012. Ludmer, 29, was the lone civilian wounded by gunfire in the shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. Ludmer remained in fair condition at Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the leg. Two other people suffered injuries trying to evade the gunman, but weren't shot. (AP Photo/Calabasas Courier)

This photo provided by the Calabasas Courier, a student publication of Calabasas, Calif., High School, shows teacher Brian Ludmer in Sept. 2012. Ludmer, 29, was the lone civilian wounded by gunfire in the shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. Ludmer remained in fair condition at Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the leg. Two other people suffered injuries trying to evade the gunman, but weren't shot. (AP Photo/Calabasas Courier)

Transportation Security Administration officer Alexa Mendoza lights a candle at a memorial to TSA officers killed and wounded at Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport Monday, Nov 4, 2013. TSA Officer Gerardo I. Hernandez was killed and two officers and one civilian wounded in the shooting at Terminal 3 Friday, Nov. 1. Operations at the airport were back to normal Monday, the first business day since the attack. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

This photo provided by the Calabasas Courier, a student publication of Calabasas, Calif., High School, shows teacher Brian Ludmer in Sept. 2012. Ludmer, 29, was the lone civilian wounded by gunfire in the shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. Ludmer remained in fair condition at Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the leg. Two other people suffered injuries trying to evade the gunman, but weren't shot. (AP Photo/Calabasas Courier)

John S. Pistole, left, Administrator of Transportation Security Administration and Ana Hernandez, center, wife of TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez, victim at LAX shooting, before a press conference in Porter Ranch, Calif. on Saturday Nov. 2, 2013. A gunman armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, killing a Transportation Security Administration employee and wounding two other people in an attack that frightened passengers and disrupted flights nationwide. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

This photo provided by the Calabasas Courier, a student publication of Calabasas, Calif., High School, shows teacher Brian Ludmer in Sept. 2012. Ludmer, 29, was the lone civilian wounded by gunfire in the shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. Ludmer remained in fair condition at Ronald Regan UCLA Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the leg. Two other people suffered injuries trying to evade the gunman, but weren't shot. (AP Photo/Calabasas Courier)

By TAMI ABDOLLAH

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LOS ANGELES — The man accused of opening fire at Los Angeles International Airport, shooting employees and terrorizing travelers, accomplished two of his goals, according to authorities: killing a Transportation Security Administration officer and showing how easy it is to get a gun into an airport.

The deadly rampage left investigators to piece together what motivated Paul Ciancia’s hatred toward the agency formed to make air travel safer after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But the attack could ultimately lead to changes in the way airports are patrolled.

Ciancia, who was shot four times by airport police, remained in critical condition Monday. He has not been scheduled to appear in court. Any appearance will depend on when his doctors say he’s ready, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

The FBI said Ciancia had a handwritten letter, stating that he made the conscious decision to try to kill multiple TSA officers and “instill fear in your traitorous minds.”

The unemployed motorcycle mechanic who recently moved to Los Angeles from the small, blue-collar town of Pennsville, N.J., had a friend drop him at LAX on Friday just moments before he pulled a .223-caliber assault rifle from his duffel bag and opened fire, killing one TSA officer and wounding three other people, including two more TSA workers.

Officials do not believe that the friend knew of the shooter’s plans. Ciancia arrived at the airport in a black Hyundai and was not a ticketed passenger.

Ciancia is charged with murder of a federal officer and committing violence at an international airport, charges that could qualify him for the death penalty. It was not immediately clear when he would make a first court appearance given his medical condition.

In court documents and interviews, authorities spelled out a chilling chain of events, saying Ciancia walked into the airport’s Terminal 3, pulled the assault rifle from his duffel bag and fired repeatedly at 39-year-old TSA officer Gerardo I. Hernandez. He went up an escalator, turned back to see Hernandez move and returned to shoot him again, according to surveillance video reviewed by investigators.

He then fired on two other uniformed TSA employees and an airline passenger, who all were wounded, as he moved methodically through the security checkpoint to the passenger gate area before airport police shot him as panicked travelers hid in stores and restaurants.

It wasn’t clear why Ciancia targeted TSA officers, but what he left behind indicated he was willing to kill any of them who crossed his path, authorities revealed.

The letter in his duffel bag refers to how Ciancia believed his constitutional rights were being violated by TSA searches and that he’s a “pissed-off patriot,” upset at former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

“Black, white, yellow, brown, I don’t discriminate,” the note read, according to a paraphrase by a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

The screed mentioned “fiat currency” and “NWO,” possible references to the New World Order, a conspiracy theory that foresees a totalitarian one-world government.

The letter also talked about “how easy it is to get a gun into the airport,” the law enforcement official said.

When searched, the suspect had five 30-round magazines, and his bag contained hundreds more rounds in boxes.

The FBI was still looking into Ciancia’s past, but investigators said they had not found evidence of previous crimes or any run-ins with the TSA. They said he had never applied for a job with the agency.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday that Ciancia’s actions show how difficult it is to protect travelers at a massive airport such as LAX.

The terminals are open and easily accessible to thousands of people who arrive at large sliding glass doors via a broad ring road that fronts the facility and is designed to move people along quickly.

“It’s like a shopping mall outside the perimeter,” McCaul said.

TSA Administrator John Pistole said the agency will need to work with each airport’s police agency “to see how we’ll go about in providing the best possible security.”

On Monday, Ciancia’s New Jersey relatives offered sympathy to the family of the slain security officer and their hopes for the recovery of other victims. The attorney for the Pennsville, N.J., family, John Jordan, declined to take questions.

The TSA said the other two officers wounded in the attack — James Speer, 54, and Tony Grigsby, 36 — were released from the hospital.

Brian Ludmer, a high school teacher, remained hospitalized. He has to undergo at least one more surgery on his leg and extensive physical therapy, hospital officials said Monday, but his condition was upgraded from fair to good.

Two other people suffered injuries trying to evade the gunman, but were not shot.

———

Associated Press writers Alicia Chang and Gillian Flaccus in Los Angeles contributed to this report.


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