By: DREW ZAHN
Back in January, an oddly prescient investigative report revealed that should a shooting occur at one of the nation’s airports – such as happened in Los Angeles Friday – Transportation Security Administration screeners were being trained to first “save themselves.”
Writing in the Washington Times, Alan Jones reported a veteran TSA agent disclosed he had recently undergone agency training during which TSA personnel were confronted with a checkpoint shooting. The training reportedly changed the agent’s workday habits.
“Every day when I arrive for work, I look for an escape route in case someone opens fire,” said the TSA worker. “We have been told to save ourselves.”
While it wasn’t clear at the time whether the training for a potential gunman attack was nationwide or specific to the agent’s airport, the nightmare scenario played out Friday at Los Angeles International Airport’s Terminal 3, where just after 9:20 a.m. local time, a man reportedly carrying a rifle opened fire.
TSA spokesman Nico Melendez told NBC News the shooting happened at a screening station where fliers show their IDs and boarding passes.
KCAL-TV in Los Angeles reports the gunman came in targeting TSA agents. The station also reports one agent was killed by the gunman, while as many as six others were wounded.
Passenger Robert Perez told the station that TSA agents immediately fled the scene and raced through the terminal, yelling that a man had a gun.
Multiple sources report the suspect – described to KNX Radio by airline passenger Rodrigo Jara as a white male with blonde/dirty blonde hair – has been apprehended by authorities and was wounded in the attack.
NBC News reports law-enforcement officials have identified the shooter as 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia and that he was shot by law enforcement and taken into custody in critical condition.
The Los Angeles Times further reported that the gunman was a TSA employee and was more than wounded, but killed by authorities. Conflicting news reports swirled around the shooting since it began. Later reports from Fox News say Ciancia is hospitalized but the FBI has not been able to interview him yet due to his wounds.
Ciania’s father told Pennsville, N.J., Police Chief Allen Cummings early Friday afternoon that Ciancia had mentioned taking his own life in a text message to his younger brother, Fox News affiliate WTXF reported.
The family lives in Pennsville and Paul Ciancia resides in Los Angeles.
Cummings had notified the Los Angeles Police Department of the suicide threat and LAPD officers went to check on the young man at his Los Angeles residence. Ciancia was not home at the time and his roommates told officers that he had seemed fine when they last saw him. The LAPD had planned to return to the residence when Ciancia was scheduled to return from work, but 45 minutes after their visit, the shooting at LAX occurred.
In his January article, Jones speculated the mass-shooting scenario training for TSA agents may have been routine, prompted by credible intelligence on a potential attack or even preparation for a deliberate, staged attack.
“Considering the full range of possible reasons for the alleged TSA training, it would be hard to say whether the agency actually expects a checkpoint shooting,” Jones reported.
Jones quoted Michigan attorney Kurt Haskell, a 2012 Democratic congressional candidate, who made national news after claiming he had seen a man help the 2009 Christmas Day “underwear bomber” board the flight from Amsterdam to Detroit without a passport.
Haskell is convinced a federal agent actually gave the bomber a defective bomb to carry on the plane in order to intentionally create an incident “that would cause the government to install full body scanners at airports nationwide.”
In January, Haskell told Jones he feared the TSA’s training might have been in preparation for another staged attack.
“As a first-hand eyewitness to a proven false flag attack, I know that the government does stage fake attacks to further governmental policy,” Haskell said. “An airport is the perfect place setting to stage their play.”
In January, Jones speculated, “A mass shooting at a TSA checkpoint would not only be a tragedy for the families of those passengers and TSA workers killed, but would likely lead to even more calls for gun-control measures, as well as discussions of arming TSA workers, propositions that would likely face stiff resistance.”
Though TSA “officers” wear badges and law enforcement-style uniforms, they are not sworn law enforcement officers and do not carry firearms. Like everyone else at airports around the country, they count on airport police for armed protection.