The 23-year-old suspect in the Los Angeles International airport shooting had been reportedly suffering some mental anguish in recent weeks and family members were worried that he may attempt to take his own life, according to details that have begun to emerge.
Paul Anthony Ciancia, the 23-year-old Los Angeles resident who was identified by the FBI as the suspect, is alleged to have used a semi-automatic rifle in the attack. Ciancia killed one TSA officer and shot another TSA agent. Several other people were also hurt, say authorities, some who may have been injured while trying to escape from the scene.
Ciancia was wounded in a shootout with police and is now in custody.
The suspect grew up in Pennsville, NJ, according to an Associated Press report that cited the town’s police chief Allen Cummings as providing the information.
AT LAX: TSA agent gunned down at LAX
FLIGHTS: LAX shooting causes major delays
On Friday, Ciancia’s brother — who still lives in Pennsville — received a text message from Ciancia saying he was thinking about taking his life.
A federal law enforcement official, who didn’t want to be named, told USA TODAY that the alleged shooter’s family had become worried about his emotional well-being. They alerted local police, and those officers relayed the family’s concerns to Los Angeles authorities.
The official said Los Angeles police reportedly made contact with the alleged shooter’s roommates who indicated that Ciancia appeared to be okay.
“Basically, there were two roommates there,” Cummings told the AP. “They said, ‘We saw him yesterday and he was fine.'”
The suspected shooter’s parents also live in the South Jersey town of Pennsville, according to media reports.
Paul Ciancia is the owner of Salem County Auto Repair in that area. A person who answered the phone at that business on Friday afternoon said “no comment” before hanging up.
On Friday evening, media members were camped out front of his parent’s driveway in New Jersey, which was blocked by police. The large houses on Pittsfield Street, which was listed as a previous address for the shooter in an Accurint report, are set back from the road and include long driveways.
Joshua Pagan, 17, has lived across the street from Ciancia residence for past 10 years. He said Paul Ciancia has a younger brother closer to Pagan in age to him.
“I’ve seen (Paul) a few times, but I did not know him personally,” Pagan said. “From what I’ve seen and heard, he was just a normal person – just an every-day guy.”
Pagan finds it hard to comprehend that Ciancia would violently open fire in an airport.
“Right now I am still trying to process this,” he says. “Did this really happen? Did they get the wrong guy? Because if they told me they got the wrong guy, it would make a lot more sense to me.”
Investigators recovered a rambling message from the bag the shooter was allegedly carrying, which detailed an intent to “kill” TSA officers,” two federal law enforcement officials said.
The officials, who are not authorized to comment publicly but who was familiar with contents of the message, said it was written in way that the author expected that his own life to be taken in the incident.
“This was clearly a suicide mission,” one of the officials said. “He did not expect to walk away from this.”
The shooter, who was shot in the face, survived an exchange of gunfire with police. His condition was not immediately known, said the offcial.
Contributing: Kevin Johnson, Bill McMichael, The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal, The Associated Press