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THE SITUATION ROOM
Shooting at LAX
Aired November 1, 2013 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: With panicked passengers running for their lives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard a couple popping noises and just turned to look. It didn't -- it just sounded like somebody banging on something, but there was a stampede of people coming my way, and I realized that something was very wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: A TSA officer is dead, others are wounded, and a suspect is in custody. We have new information about the shooter, the victims, and how this happened at one of the world's busiest and biggest airports.
Plus, gridlock on the ground and in the air. We're going to tell you what's going on at LAX right now and how delays are being felt all across the United States.
We want to welcome our viewers around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. This a SITUATION ROOM special report: "Shooting at LAX."
One of America's biggest airports is a blood-stained crime scene right now. We're learning more about the suspect in that deadly shooting at the Los Angeles International Airport. Law enforcement sources telling CNN he's 23 years old and he has addresses listed both in Los Angeles and in New Jersey.
We're told investigators are looking into the possibility he was specifically targeting Transportation Security officials. The TSA confirms that one of its officers is dead and others are wounded.
Our correspondents are in the field. They're here in THE SITUATION ROOM. They're covering every angle of this breaking story.
Let's go to LAX first, though. Casey Wian is standing by with the very latest.
What do we know, Casey?
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, there was terror and chaos inside, gridlock and confusion outside in the aftermath of today's deadly shooting at LAX.
WIAN (voice-over): Terminal three at the massive Los Angeles International Airport is crowded with Friday morning travelers when just after 9:30, terror.
PATRICK GANNON, LOS ANGELES WORLD AIRPORTS POLICE CHIEF: An individual came into terminal 3, pulled an assault rifle out of a bag and began to open fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just three loud pops, and everybody started panicking.
WIAN: The panic becomes a stampede.
ALEX NEUMANN, Witness: People were running, people were getting knocked down. And there was luggage everywhere, and mayhem is the best way of describing it.
WIAN: The gunman keeps firing.
GANNON: He proceed up into the screening area where TSA screeners are and continued shooting.
WIAN: Even as travelers panic, police go into action.
GANNON: The officers didn't -- I repeat, they didn't hesitate. They went after this individual and they confronted this individual in our airport. And unfortunately it involved an officer-involved shooting, but that's what's needed to be done in that particular situation and that was heroic.
WIAN: It ends in a final shoot-out. Still photos of the scene show the gunman's rifle on the floor.
GANNON: The suspect got back very far into a terminal. There's a Burger King that is quite a ways away. They tracked the individual through the airport, and engaged him in gunfire in terminal three, and were able to successfully take him into custody.
WIAN: All the while, terrified travelers pour out any door they can find, even onto the tarmac. Authorities set up triage areas, red, yellow and green tarps, for sorting and treating the most to least severely wounded. They remained empty.
New helicopters overhead see a man in a TSA uniform, his hand bloody. Back inside, amid blood and broken glass, authorities count seven injured, and six are rushed to hospitals.
WIAN: Now, just an update on conditions outside of Los Angeles International Airport. You can see over my shoulders roads in and out remain closed. Many travelers having to walk to and from the airport in an attempt to catch their flights.
Should point out that just over the last few minutes several flights have come overhead at the northern runway of LAX. You can hear one of them going over my head right now. That runway has been shut down all day long. The fact that flights are beginning to land on this runway may be the beginnings of a sign that airport operations are starting to get back to normal -- Wolf.
BLITZER: They're landing. Are flights taking off?
WIAN: Some flights have been taking off on the farther south runway, nowhere near at the pace you would expect on a Friday afternoon. So we're still a long way away from normal, but some flights are landing, and some are taking off, which is a bit change from what we saw a couple hours ago, Wolf.
BLITZER: Certainly is. All right, Casey, thank you.
Let's get some more now on the suspected gunman. We're learning more details and we're also learning about a possible, possible motive.
Our national correspondent, Deborah Feyerick, has been working her sources all day.
What are you learning, Deb?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We can tell you the gunman is in surgery. He was shot three times in the chest. He was stopped by officers from LAX and also the LAPD, who confronted him just as he reached the gate.
He walked into the terminal with a conceal weapon. He took it out and began opening fire. We're now told by law enforcement officials they're working on the assumption he was specifically targeting TSA agents. There was material that was found on him, but also eyewitness say that he asked them, hey, are you with TSA? And then when they responded no, he simply continued walking.
Now, he was able to get down a very long terminal to the gate area. That's when he was stopped. He was wearing what happened to be camouflage clothing. And he had three magazines. One of them was in the gun. That's the one he was firing. Then were also two other magazines that were found on him as well.
ATF is running a trace of that weapon. We're told that search warrants are being executed in two locations, one in New Jersey, the other in Los Angeles. He's connected to two both those locations. And that, as is standard operating procedure, officials will send in the bomb squad just to make sure that the area is safe, so investigators can actually go in.
He's apparently a 23-year-old man. We're not releasing his name, but a lot of people now searching anybody who knows him.
BLITZER: Since a TSA officer, a federal employee was shot and killed, is FBI taking the lead right now or local authorities?
FEYERICK: The FBI is actively involved in this as are a number of agencies. LAPD is also involved, because clearly their officers were the ones who were involved in the shooting as well as LAX. It's a joint effort, but right now everybody just trying to do the work.
They're interviewing about 100 witnesses, Wolf, who were actually there at the time of shooting. They're also pulling surveillance video throughout the entire airport. There's a lot of work to be done.
BLITZER: An investigation is clearly under way. Thanks, Deb, very much.
Witnesses to the LAX shooting used social media to share their horror stories, their photos, their videos.
Brian Todd is joining us now. He's been looking online at some of these images, personal accounts of what happened.
It's pretty dramatic what you're seeing, right, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very dramatic images coming in, as you mentioned, from social media.
Look at this one from inside terminal three from an elevated standpoint. You have got a weapon on the ground, possibly an assault rifle. Not clear if that's the rifle used by the gunman or not. You have got items over here that appear to be clothing. Look at this one, a wider shot of the same scene, dozens of law enforcement officers here. That's the weapon in question.
There was a passenger in terminal three name Leslie Rocketer (ph) who took they pictures. She was in a women's bathroom in terminal three when the shots rang out. She said men and women rushed into the bathroom, hid in the stalls until the situation subsided. But she said when she heard shots fired near her area, she said it was one of those just horrifying moments where your life flashes in front of you.
She took this picture of broken glass by one of the digital ads there in terminal three. Again from Leslie Rocketer, look at this, overturned tables and chairs in what appear to be some kind of security area. Another passengers named Natalie Marin (ph) was in terminal one when she says all of a sudden a huge crush of people came into terminal one.
And nobody really knew what was going on. There were not getting very much information. Nobody knew where to go, but, look, just thousands of people crowding into the terminal, as terminal three was being evacuated. More pictures from terminal one and Natalie Marin. She's a student at the University of Southern California, just kind of capturing the sense of chaos and just uncertainty at that moment.
She did say though that people were surprisingly calm. Some people were on edge and angry, but overall the crowd, she says, was surprisingly calm. She says then a lot of people started exiting and going out toward the tarmac areas and some areas outside. These are some of those pictures right there. This appears to be lining up against the wall on the tarmac area. One thing that our consultant Tom Fuentes said as a law enforcement officer, you don't necessarily want a lot of people going outside in these moments. You want to get to the safer areas inside a terminal building because a lot of these people could be potential witnesses who you will need to interview later on. So getting them outside not such a great thing, because a lot of these people tend to disperse after that.
So some of these images we're seeing from social media very, very powerful, Wolf.
BLITZER: Indeed. Thanks very much, Brian, for that.
Still ahead, we are watching the story unfold, and we're watching all angles. There's new information coming in involving the L.A. shooting incident, the suspect. All of our correspondents and analysts are standing by. Much more of our special report right after this.
BLITZER: Hours after the deadly shooting at the Los Angeles International Airport, so many passengers are still stuck at the scene of the bloodshed. Delays are rippling across the nation. We're going back live to LAX with more of the breaking news, right after this.
BLITZER: We're continuing to follow the breaking news out of Los Angeles International Airport, where there was a shooting today. One TSA officer has been shot and killed. Others have been injured. The suspect, local authorities say, is in custody. He was shot as well.
There's lots of stories coming in, eyewitnesses who were deeply affected by what they saw and heard.
Let's bring in Lucas Jensen right now.
Lucas, you were stuck on a plane. You landed hours and hours ago at LAX, but they wouldn't let you get off the plane because of what was going on. Is that right?
LUCAS JENSEN, WITNESS: Yes, it was kind of a moving situation. We were on there for five hours.
We landed about 9:45, and I get a text from my mom saying, hey, there's a shooting at LAX, and the word started to ripple through the plane. And we saw helicopters outside. And then we just sat for a few hours, and they kept saying, well, we will move you over here or we will move you here. They got people on buses off other planes, but we just sat there.
And everybody they bussed to the terminals can't leave. We just deplaned at terminal one, but we're still here, I guess, because it's a crime scene.
BLITZER: What are they saying to you? They're not letting you leave terminal one even if people can find a taxi or go someplace?
JENSEN: No, there's no -- they said no ground transport, no leaving. They're letting us stretch our legs, which is nice, but it's probably the quietest LAX has ever been during the day. All the -- everything is closed down. Most of the restaurants, except for a few bars and stuff, are closed.
BLITZER: You and your fellow passengers, you spent four or five hours in the plane on the runway as you waited for permission to get to one of these terminals?
JENSEN: Yes, so we spend five hours on the plane, and then we just deplaned to wait again.
It was -- everybody was in pretty good spirit. But we had to donate diapers to another plane and then they brought snacks to us and they brought water, because people needed it. And, you know, it's not so bad for me, but there were elderly and children on there. And so they had to take care of their needs.
BLITZER: And they couldn't take them -- what I don't understand is why, if you were coming in, why they still are holding all of you in terminal one and not letting you leave. Are they giving you an explanation?
JENSEN: I have got to be honest. We haven't got a lot of great explanations.
And nobody seems to know what's going on. And certainly even the police here, or the law enforcement people here I talk to, they don't know what's going on. And so Southwest, the airline I rode, they just threw up their hands and said this is the best we can do. Everybody was nice, but we just sat.
BLITZER: Just waiting and waiting and waiting.
JENSEN: Five hours.
BLITZER: Did you check luggage?
JENSEN: Yes. I checked luggage, so I'm going to -- we don't know what that situation is and rental cars. There are also people who are heading to the next flight, but they're still on the plane, actually. So, I don't even know what is happening with them.
BLITZER: Everybody I assume is in a relatively good mood, right?
JENSEN: I think, given the situation, obviously, we can't complain when there's a real tragedy happening.
But I think everything, you know, was in about as good spirits as you can be, having sat on a plane for five hours. But it was frustrating to see other people taken off the planes on these buses, and sort of bussed around to other terminals. But it's my understanding that even though they got buses to terminals, they're still stuck here, too.
BLITZER: Well, good luck. Good luck, Lucas, and your friends over there and the other passengers.
Lucas Jensen joining us with that story of what happened, but he's OK. They're all OK.
We appreciate it very much.
We're just getting in some video. I'm going to share it with you. This is video obtained by TMZ. We want to you show you the chaos, the pandemonium that ensued in LAX after shots were fired.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody onto the floor now, on the floor now, on the floor!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, you guys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, go.
This is crazy, dawg. I got some good video.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: That's dramatic video.
Jim Sciutto is watching it together with me.
And I'm going to replay it, Jim, and we're going to discuss what we're seeing right now, because it starts relatively quiet, but all of a sudden folks at that terminal three at LAX, they begin to realize what's happening. Let's roll that tape one more time right now.
Take a look at that, Jim.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It's interesting as you watch this, because this is the kind of incident they train for in this airport. In fact, just three weeks ago, they trained for an active shooter incident, many of the officers who might have responded today. In fact, the police chief said earlier today that the officers said that kind of training was critical to how they responded to this incident today in terms of getting people to safety quickly.
BLITZER: You can see people just running. They're scared out of their mind, understandably so, I must say, some people falling even as they're running, and some trying to bring their luggage along with them.
Probably they should have just forgotten about the luggage and just gotten out of there, with a lone gunman actively shooting, as he was, even as these folks were running.
And interesting, in the first parts of the video as you watch it there, you could see that there was some disbelief early on, people not quite sure what was going, was it serious. And then all of a sudden, you see the crowd of people coming. It was very clear.
As we mentioned earlier, this is the first TSA officer to have killed in the line of duty before. You saw some of the officers in that film there. There are 2,000 TSA agents alone in LAX, and that doesn't even count the armed agents in the airport, the airport police. DHS, Department of Homeland Security, has its own armed officers in there.
So really it's a measure of where we are today in terms of these kinds of threats. You have that sort of literally thousands of officers in the airport to protect and respond to this kind of thing.
BLITZER: Even now, we just heard one passenger saying they're not letting the passengers who got to terminal one -- this was terminal three -- leave that area, because it's an active crime scene.
SCIUTTO: Right. That's interesting.
They're probably taught to compartmentalize. Right? They don't want the threat to move from one terminal to another. It's interesting. We were talking to L.A. police who were describing the training they did.
They took over an airport nearby, the Ontario Airport, a disused terminal, and set up an active shooter situation like this, so they could give more than 300 officers a taste of what it would be like and how they would respond to it. That's the kind of level of training that is necessary. LAX has been the target of plots before, so they have to be prepared for this kind of thing.
BLITZER: One individual. And the local authorities, the mayor and other local authorities said it was a lone gunman. They don't believe there were any collaborators, if you will, but a lone gunman who did what we just saw.
SCIUTTO: That's right.
And I just heard back again from the National Counterterrorism Center, just been keeping in touch with them to see if their assessment has changed. Their assessment remains no nexus to international terrorism, nexus to terrorism at all, although I suppose in light of the fact that he had material on his person talking about how he was angry at TSA agents, that he was targeting TSA agents, you can call that a kind of terrorism, but at least far as the NCTC is concerned, not an incident of terror at this point.
BLITZER: Hundreds of people who were in that terminal three, they were terrified.
SCIUTTO: No question.
SCIUTTO: Depends on what you identify as terrorism.
BLITZER: I want to go to Deb Feyerick right now.
Deb, I understand we're now getting the official identity of the suspect?
FEYERICK: We are.
As a matter of fact, the FBI in Los Angeles has now officially identified the shooter. He is 23 years old. His name is Paul Anthony Ciancia. He's a resident of Los Angeles. We're being told by a federal law enforcement official that in fact they're executing two search warrants on two areas linked to him, both a residence in New Jersey and another one in Los Angeles.
But he is now identified as 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia, those search warrants in the process of being executed -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And we're also being told by the FBI, Deb, there will be a news conference at the top of the hour, 7:00 p.m. Eastern, 4:00 p.m. Pacific time. The FBI's representative will be the special agent in charge of the FBI's Counterterrorism Division.
This is interesting, David Bowditch, who will be joined by the partners with the LAPD, LAXPD, L.A. Fire Department and others. It's significant potentially that the FBI's Counterterrorism Division will be represented at this news conference with the latest official information.
FEYERICK: It's also interesting.
I did ask a number of people who I was on the phone with today what specifically -- whether there was any sort of connection to international terrorism. Right now they don't believe so, but, of course, because of the kind of attack that took place at the L.A. Airport, it could be ruled domestic terrorism, for example, specifically because he breached a very secure area.
It appeared that he was targeting TSA agents, he had some material on him, but also eyewitnesses are now telling police that they asked, hey, are you TSA? When they said, no, he just passed right by them and continued walking. Again, we heard Tom Fuentes say that if he had actually gotten onto an airplane, it could have been a much different story, so they're pulling the surveillance tapes, all of this right now being scrutinized extremely closely -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Stand by for a moment.
Evan Perez, our justice reporter, is getting more information on this 23-year-old suspect. What are you learning, Evan?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, one of the things that the FBI is trying to figure out right now is, you know, the gun that was -- the rifle that was seized right there is probably something that would be banned in California.
So one of the things they're trying to figure out is where he got the firearm. There's a lot of these type of long guns, a lot of these rifles are banned in California law. And so where did he get it from is one of the thing that they will try to focus on in the next few days.
BLITZER: Evan, stand by for a moment.
We're going to continue our special coverage. We will take a quick break.
When we come back, we are going live to LAX, once again a still very tense scene, so many passengers delayed, frustrated, but they are OK.
And today's "CROSSFIRE" hosts, Van Jones and Will Cain, they are standing by for a discussion about airport security, security and what went wrong in L.A.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. The 23-year-old suspect in the L.A. Airport shooting has been identified as Paul Anthony Ciancia of Los Angeles.
We're going back live to LAX. We're also bringing you all the news information and the new video that is coming into THE SITUATION ROOM. We have our correspondents and analysts working story from L.A. to D.C. Don't go away.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: 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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, go!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
Let's go back to LAX right now. CNN's Stephanie Elam is on the ground for us at the airport.
What are you seeing? What's the very latest right now, Stephanie?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, what we're learning is that the airport plans to end the ground stop here at LAX at 4 p.m. Pacific Time. What's going to happen, then, that means terminals 1 and 2 are going to reopen. Terminal 3 will remain closed.
Now, for people who are trying to fly in and out of Terminal 3, they're going to move those flights to other terminals. Of course, they're still asking everyone to try to find another way to get in and out or maybe rebook your trip for another day.
We just hiked down to where we are now next to the runway here on the outer side of Terminal 3. And on that walk down, I can tell you that there are just passenger upon passenger lugging their bags, hoping to make their international flights, some of them. Some of them just figured they have no place else to go. What else they can do? So they're going to try to get to the terminals.
But I can tell you, as I just walked through there, there are a lot of passengers just lining up at the end of Terminal 1, looking out towards Terminal 2, waiting to get that clearance to pass through to that other terminal. They're just hoping that, if they make it into the terminal, they'll make their way.
Up until then, it's just been a sea of people on the floor, in the chairs, everywhere throughout the terminal in Terminal 1, just waiting to see if they might be able to get out at some point today. Some of these people think, "Hey, if I'm in the terminal, I have a better chance than if I leave and hike out of here." And it is a hike, Wolf, and it's hot today here in Southern California. So people are really looking for any help that they can get to get away from LAX, if that's the case, what they're trying to do.
Other people I talked to were flying in today. And they were able to get off the planes. If their bags were checked, they may not have gotten those. Otherwise, they were just walking off and hoping to find a cab once they got away from LAX, Wolf.
BLITZER: Well, the good news is very soon they're going to reopen the airport for all practical purposes and allow flights to take off and land. Is that right?
ELAM: Yes, that is correct. In fact, you can probably hear. We've seen an uptick in the planes landing on this runway here on the northern side. And they've been allowing planes to come in. They put a ground stop on all flights in the United States, but there were some flights that had taken off from other places earlier today. Those planes, they've been allowing in anyway. We've seen some movement at some of the gates, as well.
We also know that the other terminals on the other side -- terminals 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 -- that they were still saying that they could take off from their runway. The problem is passengers can get to the planes, so there have been a lot of delays on that end, as well.
So passengers really have to call their airlines, and if they can, just stay away from this area. Because unless you're on foot, it's really difficult. And with luggage, it's extra hard, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Stephanie Elam at LAX, we'll get back to you. We're going to also check to see how flights are backed up now out of Los Angeles but all over the country right now because of what happened there.
Brian Todd is standing by. We'll take a quick break. More of the breaking news coverage right after this.
BLITZER: We're awaiting an FBI news conference. Not only FBI but LAPD, LAXPD, local authorities. That's supposed to begin right at the top of the hour. We'll have live coverage here on CNN, of course. We'll also have all of our correspondents and analysts working the story from L.A. to D.C. and beyond.
We'll take a quick break. More right after this.
BLITZER: We're back to our special edition of CROSSFIRE. We're covering all the breaking news out of the shooting at LAX. Take a look at this. You're looking at live pictures of a lot of people. They are stranded; they are stuck at the airport.
Right now, let's bring in our own Brian Todd. He's over at the Magic Wall with more on the flights. The ripple effect across the country, pretty much of a mess today, Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Huge mess, Wolf. We do have some late information that the ground stop at LAX Airport will be lifted in a matter of minutes. We're told that will be at 4 p.m. Pacific, 7 p.m. Eastern time.
This is a map from Flight Explorer showing all the flights, thousands of flights in the air. It's updated every few seconds with all the flights in the air at a given time.
Now, what we're told by George Hobica of AirfareWatchdog.com -- it's a Web site that tracks all the flight trends in the United States -- is that the problem here is with all the delays -- and we're told that there were dozens of delays into and out of LAX -- you've got people from, coming from New York to LAX, Boston, elsewhere, who will have to be diverted. A lot of those flights are going to land at major hubs like Denver, Dallas, Chicago. And they're going to have to -- these passengers are all going to be stuck overnight. They've got to book hotel travel. So that's going to be a big mess.
What we've got from one of the tracking service that monitors the flights canceled, was that there have been at least 65 departures canceled out of LAX, 61 arrivals canceled out of LAX, 113 departures delayed, 119 arrivals delayed, at the very least, as far as it affects LAX Airport.
So this is just a major disruption. People flying from elsewhere have to be diverted to some of these major hubs, as we mentioned, like Denver, like Dallas, like Chicago, and they're going to have to book hotels overnight. They're stuck probably for at least a day, according to George Hobica of this Web site, AirfareWatchdog.com.
So again, these delays. One ground stop at a major airport, Wolf, causes a ripple effect all over the country with air travel. It is a huge mess. It probably won't be sorted out until at least tomorrow night.
BLITZER: At least. All right, Brian, thank you.
Kyung Lah is over at LAX right now. Let's check in with her. What's the latest?
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, you can see that there is a little bit of a pathway in the crowd. The reason why is because some of those passengers, some who have been stuck on planes for five to six hours, they're finally coming out. They're finally coming out of the terminal.
And all these people you see with rolly bags, with luggage, they are trying to get onto flights. They are hoping, hoping that they're going to be able to take off today. Some of them have later flights. They don't know. They're not getting a lot of information.
When I asked people how are you learning about whether or not your flight is going to take off, they say, "Well, we're just here hoping for the best."
So it's still massive gridlock. You can see some of these people as they're coming off. They look quite tired. Very frustrated, as well, Wolf. They say they understand that this is a very serious criminal case but they really are also experiencing quite a bit of airport gridlock.
BLITZER: All right, Kyung. We'll check back with you.
Evan Perez, our justice reporter, is getting more information on the 23-year-old suspect, the alleged shooter in this case, Paul Anthony Ciancia. What else are you learning?
PEREZ: He is 23 years old. The authorities say he grew up, it appears he grew up in southern New Jersey which is the live shot we've shown on our air in the last hour. And appears to have moved to Los Angeles in -- fairly recently. That's where authorities went, have gone today. They're also doing -- doing some interviews with family members in New Jersey to try to determine what -- what could have motivated this.
As we've been reporting, in his bag, the bag where that he carried and from where he pulled out this semi-automatic rifle, authorities found a -- some kind of hand, I'm sorry, some kind of letter that contains an anti-government rant. Some kind of rant against the TSA. It indicated hatred for the TSA. It is not clear where that comes from. What kind of grooms he might be associated with. These are something the authorities are trying to check out at this hour.
But he's still very much a mystery to authorities. Especially as far as, you know, what his motivation is and what was the -- what was his association with TSA. Or what really motivated his dislike -- his dislike for the TSA.
BLITZER: Twenty-three years old and look at the damage this individual, allegedly, has done. This is the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty. That's right.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right. When you look at this, this is one of the best protected airports in the world. It's got 2,100 TSA officers. It's got more than 1,100 Los Angeles airport police, many of them armed. And one man with one gun -- it looks like an assault rifle -- essentially shut it down and killed one of those officers and was able to break through that phalanx of security guards to get right into the terminal.
So it shows you, even when you set these very high security standards in a place that has been attacked before, it is hard to protect against every eventuality. Hard to protect against every single attack.
BLITZER: They're learning more and more literally by the minute about what happened, the closed-circuit video that they have all over that airport. And they're learning more and more about the suspect.
SCIUTTO: That's right. And it's -- and this is going to be happening over the next several days, as we know. We're early on, that they saw no nexus to international terrorism. You can call this a case of domestic terrorism, in effect, in light of what...
BLITZER: Hundreds of people were terrified.
SCIUTTO: Hundreds of people were terrified. In light of what Evan Perez was saying about him targeting -- and Deborah Feyerick said targeting TSA officers. So it's a kind of terrorism, no question, and arguably, it succeeded.
BLITZER: And they're going to have a news conference. LAPD, LAXPD. The FBI is now involved. Clearly because a federal employee, a TSA officer, was killed.
SCIUTTO: Right. The very first.
BLITZER: What a story. All right. Thanks very much, Jim Sciutto.
We're going on continue our extensive coverage. Once again, we're standing by for that live news conference. Supposed to begin right at the top of the hour. It might be delayed by a few minutes. We want to you watch, because we presumably will be getting a whole lot more information. Thanks very much for joining us on this special edition of CROSSFIRE.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" begins right now.