Federal judge grants search warrant in LAX shooting investigation

November 5, 2013

Federal authorities are searching for cell phone evidence that Paul A. Ciancia planned Friday’s shooting at Los Angeles International Airport, according to a warrant obtained by prosecutors on Monday.

Authorities will examine a cellular device they suspect belongs to Ciancia for his views on the government and a supposed global conspiracy known as the New World Order, as well as records relating to the Los Angeles airport and the Transportation Security Administration, according to court documents.

Transportation Security Administration officer Alexa Mendoza lights a candle at a memorial to TSA officers killed and wounded at LAX. (AP Photo/Nick Ut) Transportation Security Administration officer Alexa Mendoza lights a candle at a memorial to TSA officers killed and wounded at LAX. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Investigators say they found the phone in the a car belonging to Ciancia’s roommate, and that the roommate said it belonged to the suspect, according to an affidavit supporting the warrant request. The device was missing its battery, and police found an LG battery near Ciancia when they apprehended him at the airport, the documents said.

Prosecutors on Saturday charged Ciancia with murder in connection with the shooting rampage that killed one TSA officer and wounded at least three other individuals, including two more TSA agents and a teacher.

Airport police shot Ciancia four times during the rampage, but he survived. Authorities said Monday that the suspect remained sedated and under 24-hour armed guard at a hospital, according to an Associated Press report.

Officials said Ciancia was carrying a signed letter telling TSA employees that he wanted to “instill fear in your traitorous minds.”

The affidavit said a roommate dropped Ciancia off at the airport in a black Hyundai on Friday morning, minutes before the attack began. The roommate said he learned of the shooting only after returning to the apartment, according to authorities.

Gerardo I. Hernandez was the TSA officer slain in Friday’s incident. During a news conference on Sunday, his wife, Ana Fernandez, described him as a “wonderful husband, father, brother, son and friend,” adding that he “took pride in his duty for the American public.”

Teacher Brian Ludmer, another victim of Friday’s rampage, was in good condition at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on Monday, but he will need surgery and extensive physical therapy for a leg fractured by a bullet, according to a hospital update reported in the Los Angeles Times.

The two wounded TSA officers, Tony Grigsby and James Speer, have returned home since being treated for their injuries, according to news reports.

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks@washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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