TSA agent killed at LAX; gunman identified

 

A rifle-wielding man killed one Transportation Security Administration agent on Friday in a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport.

Several other people including at least one additional TSA agent were wounded in the incident, which grounded flights at the nation’s sixth busiest airport.

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The shooting revived worries about mass shootings in the U.S. following the deaths of 20 school children at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school late last year.

Several reports identified the gunman as 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia of New Jersey. Los Angeles Police Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger said the gunman was wounded in a shootout with police, according to the Associated Press.

It is unclear whether the gunman targeted TSA agents, who are routinely the subject of intense criticism for searches of passengers going in and out of airport security areas.

But multiple reports said the gunman was wearing fatigues and carrying a bag containing a hand-written note that said he “wanted to kill TSA and pigs.”

The shooting began at around 9:20 a.m. Pacific time in Terminal 3 of the Los Angeles airport.

Witnesses said the gunman took a rifle from his bag and started shooting at a security checkpoint. He then continued into the terminal, LAX Chief of Police Patrick Gannon told reporters at a press conference, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Passengers were eventually evacuated onto the tarmac outside.

The White House said President Obama was briefed on the situation. 

“The president has been briefed about the shooting at LAX. We will continue stay in touch with our federal and local partners,” the White House 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.”

— This story was originally posted at 1:03 p.m. and was last updated at 5:22 p.m.