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LAX shooting suspect makes initial court appearance

Paul Ciancia, accused in the LAX shooting that left a TSA officer dead, made his first appearance in court.
December 4, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Paul Ciancia, accused in the shooting spree at Los Angeles International Airport that left a Transportation Security Administration officer dead, made his first appearance in court Wednesday.

His initial arraignment at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga marked the first time Ciancia was seen in public since the Nov. 1 attack. The 23-year-old was shackled at his hands and feet, and had a bandage on his neck and bruises on his face.

The hearing lasted no more than five minutes and was intended just to apprise Ciancia of his rights and set future court dates. He was not asked to enter a plea at the hearing.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David T. Bristow ordered Ciancia to be held without bond, saying he posed a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Authorities say Ciancia was targeting TSA workers in a vendetta against the federal government when he pulled a semi-automatic rifle out of a bag at LAX Terminal 3 and killed TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez. According to court documents, authorities say Ciancia fired repeatedly at Hernandez, then went up an escalator, turned back to see Hernandez move, and returned to shoot him again.

He then opened fire on two other uniformed TSA employees and an airline passenger, who were all wounded, before airport police shot him. Ciancia was hospitalized for more than two weeks at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center before being released into federal custody.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Dec. 18, and an arraignment was scheduled for Dec. 26. Both hearings will happen at the United States District Court in Los Angeles.

Ciancia has been charged with the murder of a federal officer and commission of violence at an airport. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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