Man accused in LAX shooting ordered held without bond

Posted at 1:40 PM, Dec 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-04 15:40:06-05

By Stan Wilson

(CNN) — The suspect in last month’s fatal shooting at Los Angeles International Airport was ordered held without bond Wednesday, after saying he that he understood the charges against him.

Paul Anthony Ciancia attended the federal hearing in Southern California handcuffed and wearing a green jail jumpsuit. He appeared frail and with several marks on his face.

Standing behind a small glass partition, Ciancia, 23, answered “yes” in a seemingly hoarse whisper when Magistrate Judge David Bristow asked him if he’d seen the criminal complaint against him and agreed to be represented by a public defender.

Ciancia was never asked to enter a plea during the court hearing.

At the end, the judge ordered him “detained” after determining he posed a flight risk and danger to the community, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for California’s central district, in a statement.

His next court hearing — unless he is indicted before then — is scheduled for December 18, with an arraignment set for December 26, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Authorities have said that Ciancia faces charges for two felony offenses — murder of a federal officer and commission of violence in an international airport.

If convicted, he could face the death penalty or life in prison without parole, U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. has said. The U.S. attorney general would decide whether to pursue a death sentence.

On November 1, authorities claim, Ciancia walked up to Transportation Security Administration checkpoint and opened fire, shooting TSA officer Gerardo Hernandez “at point-blank range,” according to a court document.

Ciancia then went up an escalator but returned to shoot Hernandez again after apparently seeing the officer move, the document said.

He then proceeded through the terminal, wounding two more officers before being shot himself.

Hernandez, 39, eventually died of his injuries, becoming the first TSA employee killed in the federal agency’s 12-year history.

CNN’s Greg Botelho contributed to this report.

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