|Suspect in Los Angeles airport shooting pleads not guilty|
|Written by LINDA DEUTSCH, AP Special Correspondent|
|Thursday, 26 December 2013 14:45|
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (AP) — The man authorities say killed a Transportation Security Administration screener and wounded three other people during a rampage at Los Angeles International Airport last month pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder and other felony charges in a case that could bring the death penalty.
Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, who was wounded before his arrest, occasionally touched a bandage on his neck and spoke in a hoarse voice during a three-minute arraignment before a federal magistrate at the West Valley Detention Center east of Los Angeles where there is a medical facility.
The diminutive defendant acknowledged his name in a near-whisper and that he had read his 11-count indictment.
Trial was set for Feb. 11 in a downtown Los Angeles federal court.
Authorities say the unemployed motorcycle mechanic arrived at the airport's Terminal 3 on Nov. 1 with the intention of killing TSA workers. Officials have said Ciancia had a grudge against the agency, but they have not indicated what prompted it.
After entering the terminal, police say Ciancia pulled a semi-automatic rifle from a duffel bag and began spraying the area with gunfire as hundreds of people fled in terror.
TSA Officer Gerardo Hernandez was killed. Two other uniformed TSA officers and a traveler were wounded.
Hernandez, 39, became the first TSA officer to die in the line of duty. A coroner's report showed he was struck by a dozen bullets. Witnesses have said that after first shooting him the gunman returned to shoot again when he saw Hernandez move.
Airport police arrested Ciancia following a gunfight in which they wounded him four times.
An indictment accuses him of "substantial planning and premeditation to cause the death of a person and to commit an act of terrorism."
Authorities say if convicted he could be sentenced to death.
Ciancia is from Pennsville, N.J., and moved to Los Angeles in 2012.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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