Los Angeles airport shooter will plead guilty to murdering security officer
The man accused of killing a security screener in a 2013 shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport has agreed to plead guilty to murder of a federal officer in a deal with prosecutors that would spare him the death penalty, according to court documents filed on Thursday.
Paul Anthony Ciancia, 26, also has agreed to plead guilty to attempted murder of a federal officer, violence at an international airport, discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence causing death, and discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence, according to the plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.
The most serious offense, murder of a federal officer, carries a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison without parole.
Federal prosecutors said last year they intended to seek the death penalty for Ciancia if the case went to trial, citing what they said was his substantial planning and premeditation ahead of the crime and its impact on the victims.
Authorities say Ciancia walked into Terminal 3 of the nation’s second-busiest airport on Nov. 1, 2013, carrying a semi-automatic rifle, and opened fire, killing 53-year-old Gerardo Hernandez, an agent for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, as he stood at the entrance to a security checkpoint.
Three other people were wounded in the rampage.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Steve Gorman and Leslie Adler)