Nightly News   |  November 04, 2013

New details emerge on alleged LAX gunman

Paul Ciancia, who is being charged with killing a federal officer and committing violence at an international airport, is an unemployed motorcycle mechanic who has been living in California for the past 18 months. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.

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>>> good evening. because it has to do in part with the safety of public places and the safety of the flying public after this nation's latest shooting incident, inside the terminal at l.a.x. officials have been scrambling to find out more about the suspect, his possible motivations and messages before the day arrived. we get the very latest on this ongoing investigation tonight from nbc's miguel almaguer at l.a.x. good evening.

>> reporter: brian, good evening. this is where it all began. the gunman opened fire behind me. he then proceeded up the escalator to continue his rampage. tonight, new insight on the suspect and the investigation. the alleged shooter 23-year-old paul ciancia has been unable to communicate. shot in the face, his condition is said to be improving. today the fbi expanded the search for clues to the a motive.

>> whatever they took out belonged to him.

>> reporter: he lived in california for the last 18 months. he bought two guns from this target range and later a rifle. his former roommate knew little about the unemployed motorcycle mechanic.

>> he was a really nice guy. a bit loner, introverted, butting that i would ever, ever expect him to do something like this.

>> reporter: at l.a.x. this morning it was business as usual . a far cry from friday.

>> be advised. shooting occurring at the terminal.

>> reporter: law enforcement sources say ciancia carried a signed letter that said he wanted to kill as many tsa officers as he could -- black, white, yellow, brown, i don't discriminate.

>> reporter: now the union representing tsa officers says some should be armed.

>> the responsibility for protecting airport security is not a tsa function but something we need to certainly examine given what happened in los angeles .

>> reporter: gerardo hernandez was the first tsa officer to die in the line of duty, seen here on the job last december. officers james spear and tony grigsby were shot and released from the hospital. bryan mudrykmer, a high school teacher, was shot in the leg.

>> he said he was grateful to be alive. he was hit, went down, turned around and saw the gunman face to face .

>> reporter: in new jersey where ciancia grew up and attended private school , his father heard of the shooting on television. through an attorney, his family spoke today.

>> it is most important for us as a family to express our deep and sincere sympathy to the hernandez family.

>> reporter: ciancia was said to be dropped off at l.a.x. by an unsuspecting roommate. it is said he sent text messages to his brother and sister before the shooting saying he wanted to die. the police did conduct a welfare check at his home in the los angeles area . it was an hour after the shooting.