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LA airport shooting suspect to be arraigned

December 26, 2013

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, California (AP) — The U.S. man authorities say killed a federal security screener and wounded three other people at Los Angeles International Airport last month is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on murder and other felony charges in a case that could bring the death penalty.

Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, is expected to be asked to enter a plea to 11 felony charges, including one of murder and three of attempted murder.

A trial date could also be set at the hearing. He has been held without bail since soon after his arrest.

Authorities say the unemployed motorcycle mechanic arrived at the airport’s Terminal 3 on Nov. 1 with the intention of killing Transportation Security Administration workers. Officials have said Ciancia had a grudge against the agency, but they have not indicated what prompted it.

Police say Ciancia pulled a semi-automatic rifle from a duffel bag and began spraying the terminal with gunfire as hundreds of people fled.

TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez was killed. Two other uniformed TSA officers and a traveler were wounded.

Hernandez, 39, became the first TSA officer to die in the line of duty. A coroner’s report showed he was struck by a dozen bullets. Witnesses have said that after first shooting him the gunman returned to shoot again when he saw Hernandez move.

Airport police arrested Ciancia following a gunfight in which they wounded him four times.

An indictment accuses him of “substantial planning and premeditation to cause the death of a person and to commit an act of terrorism.”

Authorities say if convicted he could be sentenced to death.

Update hourly