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LAX Gunman To Be Sentenced Today, Faces Life In Prison

Paul Anthony Ciancia. Photo courtesy of Vondrs Bondrs via the LAist Flickr photo pool.
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Paul Ciancia, the gunman who killed a TSA agent during a shooting rampage at LAX in 2013, is expected to be sentenced to life in prison on Monday, reports the L.A. Times.

Originally, former Attorney General Eric Holder was looking at the death penalty for Ciancia, with prosecutors citing the premeditated nature of his actions, according to an earlier Times article. The sentence was changed to lifetime incarceration at a federal prison, however, after Ciancia, now 26, agreed to a deal in which he'll plead guilty to 11 felony counts stemming from the incident.

The murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison. The weapons charges will add another 60 years, with the other charges tacking on more time as well.

During the morning of November 1, 2013, Ciancia entered LAX with a concealed semiautomatic rifle and began a shooting rampage that targeted TSA agents. He shot and killed TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez, injured two other TSA agents, and wounded a civilian in the leg. Ciancia was later shot in the head by police officers, but he survived his injuries.

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It was later revealed that Ciancia hadn't expected to survive his planned attack, and that, during the assault, he was carrying a handwritten note that compared the TSA to the Nazis, and vented about what he considered to be unconstitutional searches. He signed-off on the letter as a "Pissed-off Patriot." Ciancia, who'd moved to L.A. from New Jersey 18 months prior to the incident, "plotted to commit mass murder at one of the nation's foremost transportation hubs," Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said in sentencing papers, according to the Associated Press.

While Ciancia reportedly suffers from psychological disorders and has been suicidal in the past, Fitzgerald recommends that the court refrain from sending him to a federal medical facility instead of prison.

The 2013 shooting revealed several flaws in the response launched by authorities. A later report said that the various police and fire departments responding to the attack had failed to communicate with each other. In August 2016, when a rumored shooting occurred at LAX (it turned out to be a hoax), LAX officials utilized some of the new systems that were installed in response to the 2013 shooting. Among them was a $2 million communication system that included message boards and audio announcements throughout the airport, which were all put in place to give people real-time updates. Airport officials deemed the system to be a success, with Airport Police Chief Dave Maggard telling the Daily Breeze that, "We were immediately able to pull together a command post with Los Angeles City Fire, LAPD and airport operations, and we were very effective in a coordinated response very quickly."

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