News

Accused LAX gunman pleads not guilty

Accused LAX gunman pleads not guilty

NOT GUILTY PLEA: Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, pleaded not guilty in the shooting of a TSA officer at LAX. Photo: Reuters/FBI

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -Accused Los Angeles airport gunman Paul Anthony Ciancia pleaded not guilty on Thursday to all charges in an 11-count federal indictment against him.

Ciancia, 23, spoke softly in a federal court appearance at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga as he entered his plea to charges of murder of a federal officer and other counts in connection with the Nov. 1 shooting spree.

On Dec. 4, U.S. Magistrate Judge David Bristow ordered Ciancia held without bond after finding he posed a danger to the community and represented a potential flight risk. Ciancia did not enter a plea at that hearing.

Three charges in the 11-count indictment against Ciancia carry a maximum sentence of life in prison or the death penalty; federal prosecutors have not decided yet whether to seek capital punishment if Ciancia is convicted.

In addition to a single count of murder and two counts of attempted murder of federal officers, Ciancia was indicted on four counts of committing an act of violence at an international airport and four counts of firearms offenses.

Ciancia is accused of walking into Terminal 3 at the airport, removing a semi-automatic rifle from a bag and opening fire on an unarmed Transportation Security Administration officer standing at the entrance to a security checkpoint.

The TSA agent, Gerardo Hernandez, 39, was the first agent slain in the line of duty since the agency was created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Authorities say Ciancia then stalked past metal detectors through the checkpoint and into the airplane-boarding area, shooting and wounding two other TSA employees and a traveler before he was critically wounded in a gunfight with police at one of the world’s busiest airports.

Ciancia’s hearing will be held at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, located east of Los Angeles in San Bernardino County, because Ciancia is being treated for his injuries there.

(Reporting by Dana Feldman; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Recent Headlines

3 hours ago in Local

SD Senator Mike Rounds Questions Fed Fiscal Policy

SD Senator Mike Rounds

South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds was among a group of Senators that met with Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen this week. She oversees the board that sets fiscal policy for the country.

5 hours ago in Local

SD Senator John Thune; Messages in Presidential Races

John Thune School

Even though he has not officially endorsed a Presidential candidate, South Dakota Senator John Thune is paying close attention to both races.

13 hours ago in Local

Record Year for Land Sales in Yankton County

Brian Hunhoff 021116

Yankton County saw a record level of land sales in 2015.

13 hours ago in Local

Minnesota Home Sales Up in 2015

HouseForSale

2015 was a good year to sell a home in Minnesota.

14 hours ago in Local

Minnesota Could Play Role in “Super Tuesday” Voting

vote

Voters in Minnesota could play a part in this year's Presidential nominating race.