Operations return to normal at LAX
As operations at Los Angeles International Airport returned to normal Sunday, a Calabasas High School teacher wounded in a shooting rampage at the airport last week remained in fair condition.
Brian Ludmer, 29, sustained a bullet wound and will need surgery for a fractured leg as well as extensive physical therapy, officials at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center said in a statement Sunday.
The suspected shooter, identified by police as Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, remained in critical condition. He was wounded by LAX police as he shot his way through Terminal 3 shortly after 9 a.m. Friday, authorities said. Ciancia was shot in the head and a leg.
Transportation Security Administration agent Gerardo Hernandez, 39, was killed and at least two other agency employees and a civilian were wounded. A TSA official Sunday night identified the wounded officers as James Speer, 54, and Tony Grigsby, 36. Both officers were at home recovering from their wounds, the official said.
Authorities have filed a murder charge against Ciancia and suggested that he specifically targeted TSA agents. Ciancia was carrying a handwritten note in his duffel bag that said he wanted to “instill fear into their traitorous minds,” according to one federal official.
“His intent was very clear in his note,” the official said.
If convicted, Ciancia faces life in prison without parole, or possibly the death penalty.
The rampage temporarily halted traffic at the nation’s third-busiest airport, stranding thousands of passengers and causing dozens of flights to be diverted to other airports. The shooting caused chaos at LAX and affected more than 1,500 flights and 167,000 passengers.
On Sunday, flights at the airport were back on schedule and regular operations had resumed, officials said.
“There were no delays this morning, and everything’s back to normal,” said LAX spokesman Marshall Lowe.
Besides the gunman, Ludmer is the only shooting victim who remains hospitalized, officials said.
Ludmer was on his way to celebrate a friend’s wedding over the weekend when he heard gunshots inside Terminal 3 and “people were running everywhere,” Las Virgenes schools Supt. Dan Stepenosky said in an interview.
As the gunman took aim, Ludmer turned to run and dived away, but he was struck at least once in the leg, Stepenosky said. He dragged himself into a closet, closed the door and hunkered down, fearing the worst.
“He really assumed he was not going to make it,” Stepenosky said.
The performing arts teacher managed to create a makeshift tourniquet to slow the bleeding, using “his old Boy Scouts training,” Stepenosky told KNBC-TV Channel 4.
Ludmer waited until he heard what he believed was a police officer outside the closet. He cracked open the door, peeked out and was rushed by the officer to an ambulance.
Word of Ludmer’s wounds somehow reached his parents in Chicago. They in turn called Calabasas High, alerting two of Ludmer’s colleagues in the performing arts department.
“They said he was involved in a shooting,” Stepenosky said. “So the teachers and the principal went to the hospital right away.”
Calabasas Principal C.J. Foss and two teachers held vigil at the hospital while Ludmer’s mother made her way to Los Angeles to be at her son’s side, Stepenosky said.
Times staff writer Kate Linthicum contributed to this story.
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