Return to Transcripts main page


LAX Shooting

Aired November 1, 2013 - 18:28   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: We're back with the breaking news on the deadly shooting at the Los Angeles International Airport today. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

And this is a special edition of "CROSSFIRE."

Today's "CROSSFIRE" co-hosts, Van Jones and Will Cain, they're both standing by. We will get to them shortly. But first, the latest on the shooting at LAX.

Let's get some information now on the suspected gunman. The FBI has just identified him just a little while ago. Our national correspondent, Deborah Feyerick, has been working her sources all day.

I take it he's now been identified as Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23 years old, Deb, of Los Angeles. Also, there's a New Jersey connection. Is that right?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There is a New Jersey connection. It's believed that that's where he grew up. So agents are now heading out to that location to execute a search warrant.

We do want to tell you also, you know, this is a young man that, after he went on this rampage, he was shot several times in the chest, and so he has been in surgery, but again, the officers who were able to subdue and stop him shot him three times in the chest, center mass, so right now it's unclear just how critical his condition is.

But he did live in New Jersey. It appears that he was targeting the TSA, Wolf, statements that he made, as he was running down from the security checkpoint to the gate, passengers saying that they heard him asking whether they, in fact, were with TSA. They said no, and he just kept on running.

But also we're told, Adam Perez, my colleague in Washington, learning that, in fact, there were materials, information that he had on him, that suggest also that he was looking to kill TSA agents and possibly police officers -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And the search warrants are now being implemented both in Los Angeles and New Jersey. Do we know where in New Jersey, Deb?

FEYERICK: It's southern New Jersey. It's southern New Jersey that they're looking. Plus, there are also -- plus there are also -- he's got two siblings that we know of. And officers are trying to reach out right now to his mother and his father, as well. So this is a sweeping investigation, Wolf.

BLITZER: Deb, stand by. I want to share with our viewers some of the dramatic video that TMZ made available, cell phone video of what happened as the shooting was going down.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody onto the floor now! On the floor!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is crazy (EXPLETIVE DELETED) yes, you too, man (EXPLETIVE DELETED) everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, you guys.



BLITZER: Powerful video indeed. Deborah, you were watching it together with all of us. We now have some pictures, Deb, of the suspect, Paul Anthony Ciancia's, house, apparently, in New Jersey. I want to show it to our viewers right now. There you see some aerial shots coming in, courtesy of our affiliate, WPVI. The suspect clearly has this New Jersey connection. Although you've learned more recently he's been living in the Los Angeles area, right?

FEYERICK: Correct. Correct. He's been living in the Los Angeles area, is the information that we're getting.

This is Pennsville, New Jersey, where his father apparently lives. And there are crews out there right now. Clearly, investigators are going to want to speak to both his mother and his father.

He also has two siblings, one of them a sister who immediately after the shooting took place very quickly took down her Facebook page. So we are looking into whether -- whether he had a Facebook page, as well. We are told by an official that, in fact, he did have a Facebook page. We're trying to determine the status of that right now.

Again, he was in Los Angeles. One of the outstanding questions right now, Wolf is, is that firearm, that assault rifle. He had three magazines, one of them in the firearm, two others that were found in his clothing, suggesting that he wanted to shoot a number of bullets. Clearly, we're told that there were ten bullets fired altogether, between him and police officers who responded.

You can see right there, Wolf, that is the weapon we believe that he used when he went on this rampage, and there, just up to the top of the screen, those are clothes that we are told that he was wearing at the time, sort of camouflage clothing is what we're being told, Wolf.

BLITZER: We don't know much about Paul Anthony Ciancia, but I suspect pretty soon we'll know a lot about him. Deb, stand by for a moment.

Evan Perez is our justice reporter. You're learning more about the suspect. What are you learning, Evan?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, one of the things that the FBI is trying to focus on is to learn what his motivation was, whether or not -- what exactly these rantings that were contained in this letter that were found in the bag that he was carrying, whether there's any -- any significance to that.

Now, you know, he may have belonged to some groups, perhaps, and that's one of the things that the -- the authorities are now following up on, and as Deb said, you know, this is -- the firearm is another key here. In California, it's very difficult to get some of these firearms, especially these semiautomatics. A lot of them have been banned in California, as have been some of the higher magazines.

So those are other things that the authorities are looking at at this hour to try to figure out where he got the firearms? Where he got the ammunition and also what his motivation was to go to the airport today and start doing the shooting.

BLITZER: And I'm sure they're going to be looking for any computers or other information, any social media sites he might have been on, to get some more information. They're going through a lot of video from LAX right now, from the airport, as well.

Evan stand by. We're watching what's going on at LAX right now. We're also watching what happened. This is a full-scale investigation. Our reporters, our analysts, eyewitnesses are standing by. Much more of our special coverage, right after this.


BLITZER: We expect to get a lot more information from the FBI, LAPD, the mayor of Los Angeles. They're getting ready to hold a news conference at the top of the hour. More information on the suspect in the L.A. shooting, as well. But we're going to map out how the shooting played out. More of our special breaking news edition of CROSSFIRE, right after the break.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking new.

BLITZER: We're continuing our special coverage of the breaking news out of LAX, the shooting there. Let's go back to our special edition of CROSSFIRE, today's hosts Van Jones, on the left, Will Cain on the right.

VAN JONES, CO-HOST: Thank you, Wolf.

Joining us tonight are Rafi Ron. He is the former director of security at the Tel Aviv airport. We also have J. David Cox. He's the president of the TSA union. I want to give you real condolences for your loss. I also want both of your reactions to this video that you've got from TMZ that shows some of the pandemonium, if we can show that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody onto the floor. Onto the floor now! Onto the floor!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is crazy. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) up. Hell yes. You too, guys. (EXPLETIVE DELETED)



JONES: So Ron, let me get your reaction to what we're seeing here. You must have seen things like this in the past.

RAFI RON, FORMER DIRECTOR OF SECURITY, TEL AVIV AIRPORT: Yes, I think what we see here is very typical to a public -- a public response, and it indicates that the -- most of the people there, were not really prepared mentally to this situation. And obviously, what they need is under those circumstances is a lot of guidance, what to do.

The video is short enough, not to allow us to understand how much control was exercised at the time, but I think that this is one of the key issues.

WILL CAIN, CO-HOST: I don't know how they -- how they could have been prepared. This is the first time that I'm aware of in quite some time that an American airport itself has been attacked, as opposed to an airline.

But Mr. Cox, actually, when I look at that video, I see some people executing their job pretty well. The police officers, instructing people to get down, get down, and people following those instructions. I'm afraid people are somewhat prepared for these types of situations right now.

J. DAVID COX SR., PRESIDENT, TSA UNION: I think people are prepared. And I know the TSOs, the officers that work for TSA at the airport, they're trained to handle many situations. Today was one of those that no one was prepared for.

These are people who normally screen passengers. They detect weapons. They detect things that could be used to bring down airplanes. They are not prepared to deal with armed shooters.

JONES: Well, that's one of the things that we have been realizing that we've mainly been talking about how do we protect airplanes, and now we're talking about protecting airports. Do you think that it would be wise for TSA agents to be armed themselves now? Is that something that you're going to be calling for?

COX: At this point I don't know enough about all the situation to be able to call for arming of TSA officers. We do believe that the expansion of the BDO program, which is the Behavioral Detection Officer, that that program needs to be expanded in the airports.

CAIN: Rafi, I know that's something you have experience with, the BDO, the behavioral detection. And before we start looking for solutions, I do want to ask you this. This is a unique situation for the United States. Is there a chronic problem here? I mean, this is a tragic incident, but is it isolated? Is there a chronic problem we need to propose a solution to?

RON: Yes, it is a chronic problem. I mean, if we go back and we learn from the history of attacks, we just have to look at the '70s to figure out that almost every single major airport in Europe was attacked or subjected to a ground attack. Paris, Munich, Zurich, Rome, Vienna, Athens, all of them were attacked, with a large number of casualties in many cases dead on the ground.

JONES: Well, you know, it is shocking to think about, that we could be entering a new phase where protecting the airplanes is not going to be the deal. It's going to be protecting the airports. And we do have this horrible history we've got to be aware of.

I want to thank you for being here, both of you, J. David Cox and Rafi Ron. Let's get back to Wolf for the latest -- Wolf.

BLITZER: OK, guys. Thanks very much.