Gunman in deadly L.A. airport attack sentenced to life in prison
LOS ANGELES - The man who walked into a Los Angeles International Airport terminal and opened fire with an assault rifle in 2013, killing a security screener and wounding three other people, was sentenced on Monday to spend the rest of his life i...
LOS ANGELES - The man who walked into a Los Angeles International Airport terminal and opened fire with an assault rifle in 2013, killing a security screener and wounding three other people, was sentenced on Monday to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Addressing the court before sentencing, Paul Anthony Ciancia, 26, said he had become suicidal in the months before the shooting spree and decided to attack the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in a final, lethal fit of rage.
"I knew exactly how I was going to die. I was going to take up arms against my government," Ciancia told U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez in a Los Angeles courtroom.
Although Ciancia apologized for harm he caused to Brian Ludmer, a school teacher wounded in the attack, he expressed no remorse for the slain TSA agent, Gerardo Hernandez, or either of the two other TSA officers who were hit by gunfire and survived.
Ciancia, who pleaded guilty to murder of a federal officer and 10 other criminal counts in September, was sentenced to life plus 60 years in prison. There is no parole in the federal prison system.
The defendant was himself badly wounded in a gunfight with the police who arrested him.
Gutierrez said he would recommend Ciancia be placed in a prison facility equipped to furnish him with proper care for inmates suffering from mental illness.
The November 2013 shooting marked the worst such incident at LAX since 2002, when an Egyptian-born gunman opened fire at the ticket counter of the Israeli airline, El Al, killing a flight attendant and a passenger before he was shot and killed.
Hernandez, became the first TSA officer to be killed in the line of duty.
The LAX incident sparked a debate over the safety of unarmed TSA agents at U.S. airports and the efficacy of allowing passengers and members of the public to freely roam ticketing areas and other parts of terminals beyond secure zones where they must be screened.
Ciancia told the judge he singled out federal security screeners for assault because he had seen information on the internet describing TSA as the most hated government agency in the United States. (Reporting by Laith Agha in Los Angeles; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by James Dalgleish and Andrew Hay)