Federal prosecutors said in court filings Jan. 2 that they will seek the death penalty for Ciancia. According to the filing, Ciancia's premeditated crime caused people "to fear for their lives and experience extreme emotional distress."
Federal prosecutors to seek death penalty in LAX shooting
Defense lawyers on Jan. 5 said they expect to be ready by a projected trial date of Feb. 23, 2016. U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez had wanted the trial to start in Sept. 2015, but agreed to push it back to early 2016 since the prosecution is pursuing the death penalty.
Police said Paul Anthony Ciancia entered Terminal 3, pulled a .223-caliber semiautomatic rifle out of a bag and opened fire. He was able to proceed past a TSA screening area and into the airport itself. Police officers shot Ciancia and successfully took him into custody. Ciancia has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
Andre Birotte, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, announced 11 charges in Dec. 2013 against Paul Anthony Ciancia. The charges include the first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.
Ana Machuca, the widow of deceased TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez, is suing the City of Los Angeles for $25 million, alleging that Hernandez's death could have been avoided. Machuca also cited security lapses at the airport and delayed medical attention as contributing to her husband's death.
Hernandez was the first Transportation Security Administration employee to be killed in the line of duty in the agency's 12-year history. The TSA was established following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Since the shooting, a union that represents TSA officers has pushed for a new class of armed TSA officers.
Ciancia was an unemployed motorcycle mechanic who had recently moved to Los Angeles from Pennsville, NJ. According to police, he had a friend drop him off at LAX just moments before he pulled a .223-caliber semiautomatic rifle from a duffel bag and opened fire. Police say they don't think the friend knew of the shooter's plans.
Seeking Information in Los Angeles Airport Shootings