Note Found With Gunman Refers to “Patriot” Upset With TSA

Statements in the letter indicate the gunman viewed himself as a "patriot" upset with the TSA and ex-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano

A handwritten letter found on the gunman accused of shooting and killing a Transportation Security Administration officer Friday at Los Angeles International Airport portrays the attacker as a "pissed-off patriot" upset at the agency formed to make air travel safer and former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

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Statements in the handwritten letter found with suspect Paul Ciancia are providing investigators with some of the pieces needed to determine what motivated Friday's rampage through LAX Terminal 3.

FBI officials said the handwritten letter refers to his beliefs that his constitutional rights were being violated by TSA searches, conducted after the agency was formed in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He wrote his disdain for Napolitano -- who stepped down earlier this year to become president of the University of California system -- and stated "Black, white, yellow, brown, I don't discriminate," according to the Associated Press, citing an official who paraphrased its contents.

The note also mentioned "fiat currency" and "NWO," possible references to the New World Order, a conspiracy theory that foresees a totalitarian one-world government, according to the AP. The letter, found in a duffel bag in which investigators said he stashed a semi-automatic rifle and up to 100 rounds of ammo, referenced "how easy it is to get a gun into the airport," the law enforcement official told the AP.

The 23-year-old unemployed motorcycle mechanic allegedly shot and killed 39-year-old agent Gerardo I. Hernandez at a document checkpoint Friday before moving past security and into the terminal as travelers took cover. The gunman went up an escalator, turned back to see Hernandez move and returned to shoot him again, according to surveillance video reviewed by investigators.

Hernandez, of Porter Ranch, Calif., is the first TSA agent to be killed in the line of duty.

He then allegedly opened fire on two other uniformed TSA employees and an airline passenger, who all were wounded.

Ciancia, who lived in Los Angeles for more than one year, was shot four times by airport police outside a Burger King restaurant in the terminal. He remains hospitalized in critical condition and under armed guard.


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Ciancia is facing charges of murder of a federal officer and committing violence at an international airport. The charges could qualify him for the death penalty.

It was not immediately clear when he would make a first court appearance, which will depend on his medical condition.

The FBI was still looking into Ciancia's past, but investigators said they had not found evidence of previous crimes or any run-ins with the TSA. They said he had never applied for a job with the agency.

The agency has requested anyone at the airport who has images or video recordings to upload them using this form.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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