LAX shooting: Suspect used AR-15 assault style rifle

November 1, 2013

Federal authorities are backtracking the assault-style rifle, the Los Angeles Police are working on the shooter's background and everyone asking how this could have happened and why.

The attack on airport screeners was planned according to authorities, who Friday night say the shooter was carrying a note inscribed with the initials "NWO", New World Order and a pledge to kill TSA agents and police.

The gun they say was used by 23-year old Paul Ciancia is clearly visible on the floor of LAX terminal there where the rampage went down.

It is an AR-15 assault style rifle.

These guns are so popular that a website allows prospective buyers to build their own AR-15 model. United States and California state authorities are trying to determine how Ciancia obtained the rifle he is said to have used, especially in a state with extremely tight assault weapons laws.

Also Friday night, authorities say armed police officers at LAX had been removed from TSA checkpoints several months ago, including the one where the assault began and they were assigned to roving patrols. With TSA officers unarmed, there was no armed security at the screening checkpoint Friday.

As the I-Team began reporting 12 years ago, Chicago Department of Aviation police are also unarmed at both O'Hare and Midway Airports. Chicago police assigned to the airport are armed, but Friday's LAX incident is certain to resurrect questions about why Chicago aviation police are not.

"I think this is definitely going to spark more discussion as to whether we need to have the airport police armed, do we perhaps need to have TSA there with armed officers at those checkpoints," said Jody Weis, ABC7 Eyewitness News safety and security consultant.

Weis, the former Chicago Police superintendent, says that Mayor Richard M. Daley was not in favor of a visible heavily armed police force at the airports, that he preferred a more subtle presence with weapons and other security measures hidden from public view.

Weis says the issue of whether to arm the aviation department police has always been a delicate one.

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