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LAX gunman told police he acted alone

  • California Highway Patrol officers march past Terminal 1 at Los Angeles International Airport Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. A gunman armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire at the airport on Friday, killing a Transportation Security Administration employee and wounding two other people. Flights were disrupted nationwide. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

LOS ANGELES — The gunman charged in the deadly shooting at Los Angeles International Airport lay bloodied and handcuffed on the floor of Terminal 3 after being gunned down by police, but he replied to critical questions that helped authorities lock down the scene.

Paul Ciancia, 23, was hauled away moments later on a stretcher and later heavily sedated for medical reasons, but not before he told investigators he had acted alone when he opened fire in the terminal, a law enforcement official who has been briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Ciancia, an unemployed motorcycle mechanic who recently moved to Los Angeles from the small, blue-collar town of Pennsville, N.J., also told police a friend had dropped him at LAX on Friday just moments before he shot a Transportation Security Administration officer at point-blank range and wounded three other people, including two more TSA workers.

LAX Shooting

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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 was under 24-hour armed guard at the hospital Sunday after being shot four times, the official said. He was sedated for medical reasons, the official said, adding that one gunshot to the mouth blew a molar out of his jaw.

Ciancia is facing charges of murder of a federal officer and committing violence at an international airport. The charges 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, pulled a .223-caliber assault rifle from his duffel bag and fired repeatedly at 39-year-old TSA officer Gerardo I. Hernandez. He turned back to see Hernandez move and returned to finish him off, according to surveillance video reviewed by investigators.

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