Sources: Alleged shooter hated government, ‘New World Order’
(CNN) – Paul Anthony Ciancia was a newcomer to Los Angeles — a 23-year-old Catholic school graduate and son of a popular Fraternal Order of Police member back in New Jersey.
According to a profile emerging of the suspected gunman, he also harbored anti-government views and fears of an ominous New World Order when he walked into Los Angeles International Airport on Friday.
Police say Ciancia pulled an assault rifle out of a bag and opened fire in the airport, killing Transportation Security Administration officer Gerardo Hernandez, 39, and wounding several others, including at least two other agents, in what appeared to be an orchestrated assault on members of the federal agency.
Eyewitnesses say he walked from person to person, calmly asking, “Hey, are you TSA?”
“I just shook my head,” Leon Saryan, a traveler at the airport, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “And he kept going.”
Ciancia was eventually shot multiple times in the chest and taken into custody as he allegedly continued his eerily calm run through the airport’s Terminal 3.
He had enough ammunition to “have literally killed everyone in that terminal,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
In the hours after the attack, with the terminal at one of the world’s busiest airports still closed, authorities were piecing together a picture of the man in hopes of finding answers.
If they’re looking for telltale signs of trouble from before he moved to Los Angeles about a year and a half ago, nothing has emerged, at least publicly.
Allen Cummings, the police chief in Ciancia’s hometown of Pennsville, New Jersey, said Ciancia has no history of violence or recorded mental illness. Family members told police he didn’t seem troubled the last time they saw him — when he visited family for a wedding this summer.
“Obviously, you know, they’re upset,” Cummings told CNN. “I mean, this is a shock to them. It’s a shock to our community.”
Ciancia grew up in a quiet, wooded neighborhood just minutes from the Delaware Memorial Bridge, according to The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware. Houses there are far apart, nestled in the woods at the end of driveways sometimes hundreds of feet long.
He once worked in a popular auto repair shop owned by his father, an associate member of the local Fraternal Order of Police who neighbors say has always been known for how well he takes care of customers there.
The younger Ciancia graduated in 2008 from an all-boys Catholic school, the Salesianum School, in Wilmington, according to Brendan P. Kennealey, the school president.
Classmates there described him as awkward, saying he never fit in.
“In four years, I never heard a word out of his mouth,” David Hamilton, who graduated with Ciancia in 2008, told the Los Angeles Times. “He kept to himself and ate lunch alone a lot. I really don’t remember any one person who was close to him.”
It wasn’t immediately clear Saturday why he moved across the country. But that may have been where the first signs of trouble began to surface.
In texts to his brother and father, Ciancia said he was unhappy and discouraged living in Los Angeles, according to an intelligence source with knowledge of the investigation. The source spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the ongoing investigation.
It was one of those text messages that made his family think something bad was about to happen.
“Basically, the text message was just a message to the little brother, and the way it was written, they had some concern about it, and that’s when they brought it to our attention,” Cummings said.
The intelligence source described his texts as “angry” and “rambling.”
The father called Cummings about 1:30 p.m. ET on Friday. Cummings, in turn, called the Los Angeles Police Department, asking them to check on him and make sure he was OK.
When they checked, he wasn’t home.
The next Cummings heard, he said, were media reports linking Ciancia to the shooting.
A note found on the alleged shooter paints a picture of an angry young man.
The materials included a rant that appeared to refer to the New World Order as well as anti-TSA and anti-government claims, a federal law enforcement official said Saturday.
The New World Order is a common conspiracy theory focused on a secretive group of international elites bent on controlling the planet and forming a one-world government.
Investigators found information on the suspect expressing not just anti-federal government sentiment but also anger at the TSA specifically, according to a federal law enforcement official.
Multiple reports cite police sources saying the note included language saying he wanted to “kill TSA” and “pigs.”
The evolution of those thoughts, and how they may have led to Friday’s bloody shooting, is a story that is yet to unfold.
“We are currently investigating his background and more about him,” FBI Special Agent in Charge David Bowdich told reporters.
CNN’s Deborah Feyerick, Chelsea J. Carter, Joseph Netto and Paul Matadeen contributed to this report.