The man accused of going on a shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. 1 that left a security officer dead and others wounded pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges.
Paul Ciancia, 23, entered a plea today at a hearing at a California county jail in Rancho Cucamonga, where he has been held after being shot by airport police, according to Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles. The Justice Department hasn’t decided yet whether to pursue the death penalty.
Ciancia, of Los Angeles, shot a Transportation Security Administration officer with a Smith & Wesson assault rifle at point-blank range, according to the affidavit filed Nov. 1 in support of a criminal complaint. He started to go up an escalator, and when he saw that the wounded officer was moving, returned and shot the officer again, killing him, according to prosecutors.
The gunman allegedly shot and wounded two other TSA employees and a civilian passenger before he was shot by airport police, according the affidavit. Ciancia carried a note that said he had made “the conscious decision to try to kill” and that he wanted instill fear in the “traitorous minds” of TSA employees, according to the affidavit.
A federal grand jury on Nov. 17 indicted Ciancia on 11 counts, including murdering a federal employee engaged in his official duties and attempted murder of the two other TSA officers.
Trial is scheduled for Feb. 11 in federal court in Los Angeles, Mrozek said in an e-mail.
The shooting rampage halted flights in and out of the Los Angeles airport, the fifth-busiest in the U.S. by domestic passengers, stranding thousands and delaying flights across the U.S.
The case is U.S. v. Ciancia, 13-cr-02894, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).
To contact the reporter on this story: Edvard Pettersson in Federal court in Los Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.org