TSA agent killed in LAX shooting; gunman left anti-government note (VIDEO)



A policeman is positioned outside Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport on November 1, 2013 after a gunman opened fire at a security checkpoint. Police believe the gunman who opened fire at Los Angeles airport Friday acted alone, a police chief said.



An airport security officer is dead after a shooting spree that injured seven at Los Angeles International Airport early Friday, the Associated Press reported.

The Transportation Security Administration identified the officer late Friday as 39-year-old Gerardo I. Hernandez. 

Hernandez is the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty in the history of the agency, which was founded after the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

The FBI has identified the suspect in the shooting as Los Angeles-area resident Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23.

Ciancia was reportedly shot during a confrontation with police and is now in custody.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the alleged shooter left a note in the airport that expressed "his disappointment with government".

Ciancia's father called police in his home state of New Jersey early Friday after Ciancia allegedly sent a text message to one of his siblings about committing suicide, Pennsville Police Chief Allen Cummings told the Associated Press.

Cummings said he notified Los Angeles police who sent a patrol car to Ciancia's apartment where his roommates said they saw Ciancia the day before and said he was fine, reports AP.

The incident first started around 9:20 a.m. PST near a security checkpoint in the airport's Terminal 3.

The shooter "came into Terminal 3, pulled an assault rifle out of a bag and began to open fire ... he proceeded up into the screening area ... and continued shooting," said LAX police chief Patrick Gannon, according to Agence France-Presse.

Witness Ricky Angiolini, 16, told Los Angeles public radio station KPCC that he was by an escalator near the TSA checkpoint when he came face-to-face with the alleged shooter.

"I put my bag, and my shoes, and my computer in a container, and I just hear gunshots going on," Angiolini said.

"He looked straight at me, and I looked straight at him. That was the scariest moment for me," he continued.

"He's just reloading his gun, and I think to myself, 'All right, this is the moment. I got to run now, or I stay in here with this guy. So I sprint out the nearest exit."

Police said about an hour after shots were first fired that they don't believe it was a terrorist attack.

He was a ticketed passenger, the Los Angeles Times said, who pulled an assault rifle from a bag and began shooting. His rampage continued at different areas of the airport before ending outside a Burger King outlet, the newspaper said.

The LA Times earlier reported the gunman was dead, but later said he was in critical condition.

"We were just standing there, and someone started shooting," witness Nick Pugh told NBC. "I heard a total of maybe eight or 10 shots fired."

Pugh also told reporters he saw police chase and cuff a suspect.

Reuters reported one of three injured men was in critical condition.

Some witnesses reported seeing a rifle, while others saw police descend on the area with guns drawn and ambulances transport at least one person away from the scene.

The area was evacuated, and a triage established outside Terminal 3, the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

A TSA union representative said the agency was "sickened" by the incident, according to CBS News.

Union leader J. David Cox Sr. said the TSA is monitoring the situation.

"Our sincerest thoughts and prayers go out to the passengers and Transportation Security Officers killed or injured in this heinous act," he said, CBS reported. "Thank you to all of our brave TSOs who put their lives on the line every day to keep the flying public safe."

As a result of the shooting, the FAA issued a "ground stop" on flights arriving at LAX.

President Obama said he had been briefed on the shooting, and was concerned.

"But I'll let law enforcement folks talk about it directly," Obama told reporters in the Oval Office after meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

The LAPD issued advisories that said officers were responding to a “multi-patient incident” while asking people to stay away from LAX so resources could be deployed there.

Journalist Bill Reiter was inside the terminal when shots rang out near the check-in area.

The Fox Sports columnist said dozens were forced to rush outside to the tarmac for their safety.

"When gunfire broke out there was a stampede (of) people, all of us hiding under seat we didn't fit under," he wrote on Twitter, "we burst through the door to outside."

He said people tried to hide where they could, but it wasn’t easy in the departure area.

The terminal hosts flights for Allegiant Air, Frontier, JetBlue, Spirit and Virgin America.