Police believe a gunman who opened fire at Los Angeles airport Friday acted alone, a police chief said, while not confirming reports that the shooter and one victim were killed.
“We believe at this point that there was a lone shooter, that he acted,” said Patrick Gannon, head of the LAX police force, saying he “was the only person who was armed in this incident.”
Seven people were injured, including six taken to hospital, said the head of the LA Fire Department James Featherstone, briefing reporters for the first time a couple of hours after the incident.
Neither officer nor LA mayor Eric Garcetti would confirm reports that two people died the shooting, including the gunman and a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee.
The LA Times newspaper reported the two deaths, and cited sources saying the shooter was also believed to be a TSA employee at the airport.
One eyewitness recounted a shooter dressed in greyish-green clothing with an assault rifle opening fire as he went up an escalator and through a security check area.
Live TV footage showed armed police on the top of parking structures, apparently still looking for a possible gunman, while multiple ambulances were parked outside a terminal building.
Flights were disrupted and a “ground stop” was put in place, but about an hour after the incident erupted aircraft could be landing at the airport, to the west of downtown Los Angeles.
Update, 4:32 p.m. EST: Both NBC News and the Associated Press reported that authorities identified the suspect as 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia. Video of NBC’s report can be seen below.
Update, 4:37 p.m. EST: NBC also reported that Ciancia was allegedly carrying “anti-government materials” and was hospitalized after being shot by authorities prior to being captured. He is reportedly in critical condition.
Update, 6:19 p.m. EST: WCAU-TV reported that Ciancia allegedly sent his younger brother a text Friday morning in which he discussed taking his own life. Authorities in Pennsville, New Jersey said Ciancia grew up there and only recently moved to Los Angeles.