LAPD officers assigned to the area where Paul Ciancia began his shooting spree targeting TSA agents at LAX Airport stood down minutes before the attack began, leaving for breaks without informing their dispatcher as required.
Image: Paul Ciancia (YouTube).
“Departmental procedures require that officers notify a dispatcher before going on break and leaving their patrol area in order to ensure supervisors are aware of their absence and, if necessary, a relief unit can be brought in to cover their area,” reports the Associated Press.
That didn’t happen in the moments before Ciancia began his rampage, with one of the officers on a bathroom break and the other outside on a vehicle traveling to a meal break.
The lack of armed officers allowed Ciancia to begin the shooting unopposed, with TSA agents fleeing the screening area without hitting the panic button or using a land line phone to call for help.
The stand down ensured a one and a half minute lag before police were even alerted about the shooting. Before officers arrived at the scene, Ciancia had fatally wounded TSA worker Gerardo Hernandez as well as shooting two more TSA agents and a traveler. Hernandez did not receive medical attention until 33 minutes after he was shot.
Airport police union chief Marshall McClain claimed that the officers would have alerted their dispatcher once they had arrived at the location of their break but didn’t do so “in order to maximize their lunch break so they don’t lose time while traveling.”
Eyewitnesses on the scene of the shooting reported that the gunman was “dressed like a TSA agent,” although this narrative was quickly amended as the portrait of Ciancia as an anti-government lunatic began to emerge.
Immediately after the shooting, news networks like ABC blamed Ciancia’s actions on a “shadowy subculture” that opposes the TSA as part of a broader revolt against the growth of big government, directly implicating Alex Jones as being responsible for the attack.
The Southern Poverty Law Center also wasted little time in exploiting the incident to smear its political adversaries.
As Jon Rappoport observed at the time, blaming ideological opponents of big government for the actions of one crazed individual would be like blaming J.D. Salinger for the murder of John Lennon.
Paul Ciancia was eventually shot by police officers but survived and now faces murder and other charges.