LOS ANGELES (RNN) – A shooting suspect involved in the wounding of multiple people at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday morning has been identified.
The suspect is 23-year-old Paul Ciancia, according to the Associated Press. He is originally from New Jersey, but is a Los Angeles area resident.
The shooting left the suspected gunman and multiple officers wounded. A TSA agent was killed, according to multiple reports. TSA agents are not armed.
The AP also reported Ciancia’s father contacted Pennsville, NJ, police Chief Allen Cummings and expressed concerns his son might have been suicidal. Cummings then contacted the Los Angeles Police Department. Officers went to check on the younger Ciancia’s condition but did not find him at his apartment.
The suspect has been taken into police custody. LAX Police Chief Patrick Gannon said a lone shooter pulled an assault rifle out of a bag and began to open fire around 9:20 a.m. PT.
Police engaged the suspect and apprehended him inside the security checkpoint. Gannon said during a news conference that the airport police had practiced an active shooter scenario three weeks ago.
“This individual was shooting as he went into the terminal,” Gannon said. “The officers did not, I repeat, did not hesitate. Unfortunately, it was an officer-involved shooting.”
He said multiple people were shot, and they had been transported to medical facilities. A total of seven sustained injuries and were treated by EMTs, although they all may not have been hurt by gunfire.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said it was a safe for those still in the airport. Officials would not confirm whether anyone had died or the identity of the suspect.
Gina Marie Lindsey, executive director of LAX, discussed the issue of those awaiting flights.
“It’s going to be a careful orchestrated logistical ballet to get people reprocessed and back on their flights,” she said. “I think it’s fair to say that every flight at LAX will be significantly delayed.”
The FBI will lead the investigation, with LAX police working in support.
“For precautionary reasons, Terminal 3 and surrounding areas will be swept,” LAPD stated on Facebook.
Seven people have been injured in total, and were taken to area hospitals.
UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center reported three men had been brought in with injuries from the incident, CNN said. One of them was critical, the other two were listed in fair condition.
Dr. Lynne McCullough said that one of the critical patients suffered gunshot wounds, but she would not comment on what type of injuries the other critical patient suffered.
Actor Tim Daly, who starred on the TV show Wings, was in the terminal when shooting began. He said to CNN they were told to be careful not to step on blood or glass as they evacuated.
He was locked in a lounge for about an hour and saw the rifle on the ground outside of gates 35 and 36.
“I think the LAPD has done an outstanding job at keeping people calm and organizing people,” Daly said.
According to CNN, TSA agents were able to wound the shooter. Other people sustained injuries when fleeing the scene.
Leah Osborne, who was through security to take a Virgin America flight to Newark, heard shots and ran down a flight of stairs.
“We hurried down the stairs, and just as we were exiting, they told us to get down,” Osborne told CNN. “The shots were coming from behind us as we ran into the parking structure.”
Aerial views of the surrounding area in the immediate aftermath showed emergency responders placing people into ambulances.
Bill Reiter, a columnist for Fox Sports, said he was inside the airport when the shooting happened.
“When gunfire broke out there was a stampede of people, all of us hiding under seats we didn’t fit under,” he tweeted. “We burst through the door to outside.”
Multiple people said they had gone out to the tarmac when the shooting began but were moved to the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
Firefighters said terminals 2 and 3 had been evacuated, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Heard gunshots then everyone started running for the door,” Tory Belleci of MythBusters wrote on Twitter. “Not sure if anyone was hurt.”
Terry Marks-Tarlow gave an interview to radio station KNX. She said she was sitting near the terminal near gate 35 when everyone started to run and panic.
“I had no idea why,” Marks-Tarlow said. “We had to evacuate through the door and down to where the planes are.”
The FAA is slowly lifting the temporary ground stop. Flights are landing on the southern landing strip. Departures and arrivals are operating at less than 50 percent than normal during the investigation.
A KNX traffic report noted access into LAX had been shut down, and surrounding traffic was backed up for miles. Exits off interstates 105 and 405 to the airport were closed.
A White House official said the president had been briefed about the shooting, the LA Times reported.
“We will continue to stay in touch with our federal and local partners,” the official said. “The LAPD is leading the response and investigation. We urge citizens to listen to the authorities and follow directions from the first responders on site. The president will continue to receive briefings throughout the day.”
AirTran, Alaska, Horizon, JetBlue, Virgin Australia and Virgin America flights operate out of Terminal 3.
The shooting came after Dicarlo Bennett set off a series of dry ice bombs in Terminal 2 at LAX in October. Bennett, 28, was a ground service worker and was charged with felony counts of suspicion of possessing and exploding a destructive device.
More than 61 million people traveled through LAX in 2012 as well as 2.1 million tons of goods – 50 percent of which is international freight, according to the LAX website.
LAX was originally a general aviation field, founded in 1928. Military flights used the airfield during World War II, and commercial flights began in 1946.
Article Courtesy of WOIO 19 Action News
Picture Courtesy of KTLA-TV Los Angeles, CNN and WOIO 19 Action News