Los Angeles - A man accused of opening fire at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), killing a security agent, has been charged on 11 counts including, first degree murder, prosecutors said on Tuesday.
A federal Grand Jury returned the charges against Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, who allegedly walked into LAX Terminal 3, pulled an assault weapon out of a duffel bag and opened fire on Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers.
Gerardo Hernandez, a 39-year-old father of two, was killed in the November 1 shooting, the first TSA agent do be killed since the body was set up after the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.
Ciancia, who used a Smith & Wesson 5.56mm semi-automatic rifle, was also charged with two counts of attempted murder for the shootings of TSA officers Tony Grigsby and James Speer, who were injured in the attack.
He was also charged with committing acts of violence at an international airport, using a firearm to commit murder, and brandishing and discharging a firearm in relation to the shooting spree.
The charges carry a possible death sentence, although prosecutors say they have not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty.
After the attack, officers found a note signed by Ciancia saying he wanted to kill TSA agents and “instill fear in their traitorous minds”, authorities said. Witnesses said the gunman asked them if they worked for the TSA, and if they said no, he moved on.
Ciancia was seriously injured in a police shootout that ended the rampage, and spent several days in critical condition in the hospital before being transferred to police custody.
The shooting, in which seven people were injured, triggered panic at the airport, as hundreds of passengers fled for their lives, and disrupted flights at the major US air hub for many hours.