Passengers who had to abandon their luggage in Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport after a gunman opened fire Friday may be able to retrieve their belongings Saturday, officials announced.
There had been reports that passengers would be able to collect their luggage and other items left behind in the deadly melee at 7 a.m. Saturday, but the terminal remained mostly closed early Saturday morning. At about 7:30 a.m., LAX officials on Twitter appealed for patience as they tried to make arrangements for passengers to have access to their luggage later in the morning.
Only the Terminal 3 ticket counters were open early Saturday for purchases and questions.
Meanwhile, authorities were trying to figure out what motivated the alleged gunman -- identified by police as 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia -- to open fire at the terminal at about 9:20 a.m. Friday.
A Transportation Security Administration screener, Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39, was shot and killed, TSA officials said. A second TSA agent was also shot, but he was not immediately identified.
A law enforcement official told The Times that the gunman had a note expressing “disappointment in the government” and saying that he had no interest in hurting “innocent people.” Ciancia, a New Jersey native who lived most recently in Los Angeles, also sent a sibling a text message last week suggesting that he was prepared to die, officials said.
Another law enforcement official told The Times that investigators were looking into the possibility that the shooter “wasn’t a fan of the TSA.”
Authorities said that Ciancia, carrying a high-powered rifle, approached several people cowering in the airport terminal, pointed the gun at them and asked if they “were TSA.” If the answer was no, he moved on without pulling the trigger. A witness told The Times that the gunman cursed the TSA repeatedly as he moved through the terminal.
The incident was over in less than 10 minutes but caused chaos at the world’s sixth-busiest airport and disrupted thousands of flights across the nation.
As gunfire rang out through the terminal, travelers and employees crawled on the floor and ducked behind planters and advertising kiosks. Passengers tripped over one another and abandoned baggage as they barreled backward through the security checkpoint.
Ciancia was wounded in a brief gun battle, arrested and transported to a local hospital in critical condition.
Hours later, the airport remained shut down, stranding hundreds of passengers, some of them without their luggage.
The ripple effects of the shooting on global travel will last for days.
From start of the shooting incident Friday through midnight, 826 departing flights and some 99,200 passengers were affected, the airport announced Saturday. Over the same time period, 724 scheduled arriving flights and an estimated 67,850 passengers had their itineraries altered.