Los Angeles Airport Shooting: Gunman Paul Ciancia Pleads Guilty, Shows No Remorse


Los Angeles Airport shooting suspect, Paul Ciancia, who killed Transportation Security Administration officer Gerardo Hernandez and wounded three other people, entered a guilty plea, Tuesday for the November 2013 rampage, NBC News is reporting.

Ciancia, an unemployed mechanic who showed no remorse when he pleaded guilty to 11 felony counts stemming from the Los Angeles Airport shooting, answered “yes” and “no” to all questions posed by the presiding judge.

As part of the plea deal, U.S. District Court prosecutors had agreed not to pursue the death penalty, but insisted that the murder charge against the 26-year-old would stand. The Los Angeles Airport shooting suspect also faces another mandatory 60 years in prison on weapon charges.

Marshall McClain, director of the Los Angeles Airport officers association said he hoped the plea deal would bring a sense of closure to the Hernandez family.

“We hope the plea agreement will help Officer Gerardo Hernandez’s family heal and bring some closure to them from this horrific tragedy.”

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Federal prosecutors described the Los Angeles Airport Shooting as an act of “substantial planning and premeditation.” Ciancia, a New Jersey native had been living in Los Angeles for 18 months and purchased his semiautomatic rifle, seven months prior to the attack. In his plea agreement, he revealed that he had sent text messages to his siblings as he was being driven to the airport on the day of the attack. Paul Ciancia had described himself as a “pissed-off patriot.”

In the text he sent to his brother, he wrote:

“I’m so sorry that I have to leave you pre-maturely, but it is for the greater good of humanity. This was the purpose I was brought here.”

In the text that the Los Angeles Airport shooter sent to his sister, he said he needed to “stand up to these tyrants,” calling his actions that of “a pissed-off patriot trying to water the tree of liberty.”

The Los Angeles Airport shooting erupted at a passenger ID checkpoint outside Terminal 3, where Paul Ciancia shot 39-year-old Hernandez multiple times. After shooting him, Paul got on an escalator to enter the terminal, but when he saw Hernandez writhing on the ground, he returned and shot the TSA officer repeatedly at point-blank range. According to prosecutors, Hernandez, a father-of-two was shot 12 times.

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The gunman entered the terminal, where he asked people if they worked for the TSA before moving on. TSA officers, James Speer, 57, and Leroy Grigsby, 38, were shot in Terminal 3 as they helped passengers escape the shooting rampage. A traveler, Brian Ludmer was also wounded in the Los Angeles Airport shooting.

Ana Hernandez with her children receiving U.S. flag [Photo by Mark Booster/AP Images]
Ana Hernandez with her children receiving U.S. flag [Photo by Mark Booster/AP Images]
Speer said he was helping a shell-shocked passenger move slowly down the hallway when he saw a bullet hit Brian Ludmer, a teacher, in the calf.

“A split second before I could say, ‘Oh my God,’ I felt boom, boom in the back and upper left arm. I was thrown forward from the blast.”

Speer said he managed to pick himself up and hide behind a pillar in a convenience store. He corroborated the story of other witnesses who said Paul Ciancia was walking through the terminal and asking if people worked for the TSA before letting them go.

Grigsby, who was shot in the ankle, said he felt numb sitting near the man responsible for the Los Angeles Airport shooting, but had no regrets about getting shot while he was trying to save lives.

“I didn’t know whether to get up and run away or sit there. I didn’t know what to feel. I wouldn’t give him the pleasure of having anger. I’m not a victim of the situation. I made a decision to help people, and I stand by that decision.”

He added that the plea deal had helped bring closure to him and his loved ones, including his sister and mother who also work as TSA officers at LAX.

Wounded TSA Officer Tony Grigsby attending TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez's public memorial service[Photo by Al Seib/AP Images]
TSA Officer Tony Grigsby attending TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez’s public memorial service[Photo by Al Seib/AP Images]
Paul Ciancia was hit in the head and neck after a gunfight with airport police. A duffel bag that belonged to him contained rounds of ammunition and a handwritten note where he said he wanted to kill at least one TSA agent, but hoped he could better the body count.

Prosecutors say Ciancia’s Los Angeles Airport shooting was motivated by a rage over stringent security measures imposed on passengers by the U.S. Transportation and Security Administration.

Paul Ciancia has avoided the death penalty with his guilty plea, but still faces a compulsory life term in prison during his sentencing for the Los Angeles Airport shooting, November 7.

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