Shot in Mouth, LAX Suspect Still Can't Talk

TSA mourns first agent killed in line of duty

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 4, 2013 4:25 AM CST | Updated Nov 4, 2013 7:59 AM CST

(Newser) – As investigators try to piece together the lead-up to Friday's shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport, the alleged shooter is still too injured to talk. Paul Ciancia, 23, was shot in the leg and took a bullet in the mouth that split his tongue and knocked out his teeth, reports the New York Daily News. Officials say he is listed in fair condition and will require surgery and extensive physical therapy. The unemployed motorcycle mechanic has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez and could face the death penalty. Four others, including two TSA agents, were injured.

  • A note made it clear Ciancia hated TSA agents, but his background doesn't provide many clues to his motive. At the Catholic boys' school he attended in Delaware, near his family's home in southern New Jersey, he is remembered as a quiet loner. He was mostly silent in class apart from the occasional sarcastic comment, but "I've seen him smile and laugh before," a classmate tells the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Ciancia and his younger brother, Taylor, were both badly affected by the death of their mother in 2009, a classmate of Taylor Ciancia's says, describing the pair as awkward. "They had some depression issues, and they both got obsessive," she says.
  • CIancia had lived in LA for about a year before the shooting, acquiring at least three weapons, but seemed normal when a former roommate met him for lunch just a week before the shooting. "He would always talk about documentaries he would watch about whatever, but there was never any kind of hatred, or any hatred group, or anything like that," the roommate tells ABC 7. "He said he was going back to New Jersey, going to work for his dad, making amends with family problems, and spending the holidays with his family. That's all I know." The FBI says it has found no evidence he associated with radical groups and he told police at the scene that he acted alone.
  • At LAX, meanwhile, 100-foot pylons leading to the airport have been lit up in memory of Hernandez, the first TSA agent to be killed in the line of duty, the New York Times reports. The father of two, who would have turned 40 next week, had worked for the TSA since 2010 and "was always excited to go to work," his widow says. "He was a joyful person who took pride in his duty for the American public."

This photo provided by the FBI shows Paul Ciancia, 23, who allegedly pulled a semi-automatic rifle from a bag and shot his way past a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport.
This photo provided by the FBI shows Paul Ciancia, 23, who allegedly pulled a semi-automatic rifle from a bag and shot his way past a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport.   (AP Photo/FBI)
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