Accused L.A. gunman moved from hospital to U.S. marshals' custody

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 19, 2013 6:16 PM
Accused L.A. gunman moved from hospital to U.S. marshals' custody

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The man charged with a deadly shooting frenzy at Los Angeles International Airport has been released from the hospital where he was recovering from bullet wounds and turned over to federal marshals, a U.S. attorney's spokesman said on Tuesday.

Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, whose injuries included a gunshot to the face when arrested, had been heavily sedated, incapacitated and listed in critical condition in the aftermath of the November 1 shooting, according to court documents.

He is accused of killing one Transportation Security Administration agent and wounding two other TSA officers and an airline passenger with a rifle inside the airport, also known as LAX, before he was gunned down by airport police.

A day after the shooting, Ciancia was formally charged with killing a federal officer and committing an act of violence at an international airport. A U.S. magistrate judge subsequently appointed a public defender to serve as legal counsel for Ciancia on a provisional basis.

But his medical condition has so far prevented him from making an initial appearance before a judge, or from being interviewed since being taken into custody, authorities have said.

Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles, said in a statement on Tuesday that Ciancia "has been released from a hospital and is now in the custody of the United States Marshals Service."

He added that no details about his custody status or location were being disclosed at this time, and that no court date in the case had yet been scheduled.

The Los Angeles Times, citing unnamed law enforcement sources, reported that Ciancia was taken to a federal Bureau of Prisons facility on Monday.

Authorities have said Ciancia, who they described as being unemployed at the time, appeared to have acted alone, but they continued to search for a motive behind the shooting rampage.

According to police accounts, the gunman walked into Terminal 3 of the sprawling airport, one of the world's busiest, removed an assault-style rifle from a bag and opened fire on a TSA agent standing at the entrance to security checkpoint.

Authorities say he then went past metal detectors through the checkpoint and into the passenger-boarding area, shooting and wounding two other TSA employees and a traveler before he himself was shot by police.

He was reported to have suffered four gunshot wounds in all.

The slain officer, Gerardo Hernandez, 39, became the first TSA employee killed in the line of duty since the agency was created in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The shooting sparked debate over the safety of unarmed TSA screeners 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.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Scott Malone, Cynthia Johnston, Ken Wills and Gunna Dickson)