Alleged Gunman In LAX Shooting From Pennsville, NJ
By Cleve Bryan, Dan Wing, Todd Quinones
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Law enforcement authorities say the alleged gunman in Friday’s shooting at Los Angeles International Airport is from Pennsville, Salem County.
A TSA agent was killed and six people were injured, police said.
U.S. law enforcement officials confirmed to CBS News correspondent Bob Orr that the suspect has been identified as Paul Ciancia, 23, of Pennsville, N.J. Officials said he also spent some time in the Los Angeles area.
Pennsville police have been speaking with the suspect’s family. They indicate the 23-year-old showed no signs of mental illness, no signs of trouble when he last visited the family this summer to attend a wedding.
“They are upset. This is a shock to them. This is a shock to our community,” Pennsville Township Police Chief Allen Cummings said.
An obviously startled family friend ran down the driveway Friday evening to speak with Paul Ciancia’s family.
A few minutes later he left without talking to reporters.
But neighbors here in Pennsville describe the 23-year-old as being nice and friendly.
They are struggling to understand what happened.
“Even right now I’m still trying to process did this really happen, did they get the wrong guy because if they told me they got the wrong guy it would make a lot more sense to me,” Josh Pagan said.
“I was just mind boggled. I just couldn’t comprehend that. It’s just impossible,” Gary Harkins said.
Law enforcement sources indicate Ciancia was wearing fatigues, he was armed with at least five full 30-round magazines and carried a note that said he wanted to “kill TSA” and “pigs”.
Sources say, he then pulled a semi-automatic rifle from his bag and shot his way past a security checkpoint.
Pennsville Police indicate the 23-year-old’s family didn’t know he owned a gun.
At 1 p.m. Friday afternoon, Ciancia’s dad called Pennsville Police to help find his son after he sent his younger brother a text message about committing suicide.
Chief Allen Cummings said he called the Los Angeles Police Department which sent a patrol car to Ciancia’s apartment, and his roommates there indicated they saw him on Thursday and things appeared to be fine.
As CBS News Senior Correspondent John Miller told Eyewitness News the investigation is still in its early stages.
“The motive seems to be shaping up into somebody who had a grudge against the TSA and possibly against the larger U.S. government who showed up with the weapon in a garment bag, a bag that contained notes with ranting about the TSA,” Miller said.
Residents here in this quiet neighborhood are shocked, saying they couldn’t believe the news when they heard that the shooter was from their hometown. What made it even more shocking is that the shooter is from the Ciancia family, who own a local auto-body shop and are very active in the local community.
Jennifer Pagan has lived across the street from the Ciancia’s for the past 10 years.
“We’re in utter shock about it, because the only thing we’ve ever known of them is to just be a nice family people like ourselves. Average, business owners doing well for themselves. But they keep to themselves, but we’ve never known anything negative about them at all,” Pagan said.
A police cruiser sat blocking the end of a long driveway while FBI Agents and other law enforcement officials conducted their investigation at the home as neighbors gathered out front. Gary Hankins lives a few doors down and says Paul Ciancia’s father was a friend of his, who was always active and well liked in the community.
“My heart just goes out to him. My heart goes out to not only he, but the victims as well. Just our prayers. It’s just a tragic situation all around,” Hankins said.
Hankins’ reaction mirrored that of other families in the neighborhood when they first heard the news.
“Totally surprised. Totally shocked. My mouth dropped open, my heart sank, and I got that pitted, you know, that pit in your stomach,” a neighbor said.
CBS 3 has learned the 23-year-old went to The Salesianum School in Wilmington Delaware, and that he moved out to L.A. about a year and a half ago.
His father owns a popular auto-body repair shop in town and is a local member of the Fraternal Order of Police.
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