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tv   Crossfire  CNN  November 1, 2013 7:00pm-7:31pm PDT

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you have to have someone representing you. >> bill maher, i could talk to you for hours. catch bill maher on hbo -- he'll be in las vegas november 2nd and 3rd and new orleans on november 16th. great to see you. >> thank you so much. appreciate it. great pleasure. come back soon, bill. good evening. we continue learning more about the man accused of turning los angeles international airport into a killing ground allegedly murdering a tsa officer and trying to kill more. paul anthony ciancia, 23 years old. that is a picture of him. he's badly wounded tonight. authorities say along with an assault rifle he was carrying anti-government materials during his tear through l.a.x.'s terminal three. reports he sent some rambling text messages to his family prior to the rampage. that is a live shot of his father's house right now in
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pennsville, new jersey. we're waiting to go hear from the family. if and do we'll bring it to you live. we also obtained video from inside terminal 3 capturing the chaos. >> come on you guys. >> go go go! >> [ mute ] this is crazy, dog. >> crazy indeed. scene frommed in and outside the terminal as an ocean of air travelers fled the gunman. you can imagine being down there in that stampede. a number of people got hurt in the rush but sticking around was certainly not an option. you're going to hear from some of them tonight. a lot of eyewitnesses on the program tonight. here's what we've learned about today's murder at l.a.x.
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>> a major major incident working here at l.a.x. >> los angeles international airport 9:20 a.m. local time. the fbi says paul anthony ciancia 23-year-old white male enters terminal 3, pulls a rifle from a bag and opens fire. at the security checkpoint tsa officers were not armed. one was killed. >> he proceeded up into the screening area where tsa screeners are and continued shooting and went past the screeners back into the airport itself. >> authorities say after shooting his way through the security checkpoint, the gunman manages to make it all the way down this hallway. they say he's stoppeded by authorities here near a burger king in the food court area. hundreds run for their lives. >> it was a complete panic. people were screaming. i saw children crying. >> sheer and utter mayhem. people were tripping over each other on the floor, bags everywhere, crying, screaming.
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>> everybody started like flying down the hallway. they were just like jumping over chairs, jumping over people. hiding. and we were kind of trapped at the end of the terminal. >> trapped with nowhere else to escape, some passengers run onto the airport tarmac, others use anything they can to protect themselves. >> second shots went in. and then i just grabbed luggage and started making walls and walls out of luggages. i could see the guy walking towards the escalator. he's just pointing down. after making it hundreds of feet into the terminal, the gunman is shot by police multiple times in the chest and lives. >> los angeles airport police responded immediately to the calls. they tracked the individual through the airport and engaged him in gunfire in terminal 3 and were able to successfully take him into custody. >> his motive is still unclear, but what is known is the gunman intended to cause much more
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destruction. sources say he had three magazineses of ammunition for his assault rifle. we are getting new details about the alleged killer including items that might speak to a motive for today's rampage. deborah feyerick has details. >> reporter: we're learning he wasn't targeting tsa agents. and we know that because of statements that he made as he was walking down that terminal. he asked one man whether in fact he was with tsa. when the man replied no he continued walking. there were a series of text he sent between his father and brother and described as a cause for concern. they were angry, rambling in them he was complaining about the government, complaining about los angeles, he was unhappy, discouraged. and all of this took place over the last couple of days. it was enough to cause concern amongst the family. we're now told search warrants are being executed on homes that he had in los angeles but also a residence in new jersey as well where his father lives.
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anderson? >> what do authorities know about or what have we learned they knew about his background, about why he was in l.a., what his background was like? >> reporter: it's so interesting. the shooting happened so many hours ago. yet there was a facebook page that he had up, but that was taken down within an hour of the shooting. his sister also took down her face book page. we don't know a lot. he's 23 years old, had gone out to los angeles, don't know how long he had been there for. but again he seemed quite unhappy. he was shot multiple times in the chest as you mentioned and was taken to the ronald reagan ucla hospital. he's described as being in critical condition, anderson. >> deborah, appreciate the update. kyung lah joins us now at l.a.x. >> is there still a huge backup from grounded flights? >> reporter: oh, yeah.
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it was 5 1/2 hours where nothing was taking off, landing, with the exception of some airplanes right above los angeles. so that's 76,000 passengers that simply had their air travel disappear. so they're here at the airport trying to figure out how to get in or out. then you have the passengers who are normally traveling. so yes, there is absolutely a backlog. it is a huge mess here at los angeles tonight. >> it looks dreadful. how are people handling the delays? what are people saying to you? >> reporter: it's a bit of a mixed bag. peopled in have been very very civil while this was all unfolding. they're trying to be collaborative, try to remember that this is a very serious incident that resulted in all of these delays. but at the same time, as people are coming off the planes, and some of these passengers have been stuck on planes 5 1/2 hours, they're incredibly frustrated because they didn't get any information from the airlines and they said it was quite frightening just having that information. >> kyung, appreciate it.
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our next guest came face-to-face with the gunman who asked what literally became a life or death question. we spoke earlier tonight by phone. >> lee leon, the shooter walked up to you. take us what happened. >> i had just gotten through the security gates with the x-ray machines. i had my shoes and belt off. as i was walking through there i heard shots. ways just getting ready to pick up my shoes and belt and go on my way, pick up my other stuff. at that point we heard some shots, some more shots. so everybody kind of hit the ground then people started to run. >> did you know instantly it was shots? >> i didn't know what was happening and i didn't turn around to look. the shots were coming from behind me. and the tsa agent that was near me urged me to grab my stuff and go. he saw that i didn't have my shoes on. so he grabbed the shoes, and the two of us started running down
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the corridor towards the gate. meanwhile, more shots rang out. and this agent got hit. i think it was a grazing wound. because he seemed to be okay. he had my shoes. i went and kind of cowered in a corner. and the shooter was just calmly walking down the corridor. he saw me cowering there. he had his gun and he looked at me and he said, tsa? and i just shook my head. he kept going. >> how did he seem to you? what did he look like? what was his expression? >> he didn't act like -- you know it was kind of hard to seat expression. i was more focused on his weapon. it was a rifle, looked like an assault rifle. not sure what kind it would have been. but he was dressed normally. he had short hair, a light
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complexion. just maybe blue jeans or gray jacket or something like that. >> and when he asked you when he said tsa, did you realize what he meant? did you realize that -- >> absolutely. if i had a tsa uniform i wouldn't be here talking to you. >> you have no doubt about that. >> i'm convinced. >> well, it's so hard to believe. leon, i'm so glad things are okay for you. and i appreciate you taking the time to talk to us, thank you. >> thank you very much for calling. >> imagine that feeling coming face-to-face with a gunman. you can follow me on twitter tonight @andersoncooper, use #ac 360later. we'll continue to cover the shooting and the aftermath. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] at humana, understanding what makes you different is what makes us different.
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we're back with tonight's breaking news, the shooting at l.a.x. one of the nation's busiest airports. this morning terminal 3 was packed with passengers. tom lagos and his wife waiting at the airplane. both saw the gunman and described the mayhem and pandemonium. i spoke with both of them. tom was on the phone. >> vernon, i understand you were sitting at your gate when everything became chaotic. tell me what happened. >> we were all sitting there. our flight was delayed. and out of the blue you hear all this motion going on.
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and before you know it, not only can you hear the commotion, you see people running, mad dashing towards us. and we happened to be at the end of the terminal where there's no real exit. it was a dead end. >> and i understand you actually saw the shooter. how did that happen? >> well, after the terminal cleared, because everybody ran to the end of the terminal, and once we started hearing pops, gun shots, somebody brave enough opened the door to exit and run out onto the tarmac. so once that happened, the terminal emptied out pretty quick. and i didn't really want it least terminal because my bag was across on the other side of the gate. and i wanted to stay in view of it. so i stayed by the emergency exit but didn't leave yet. and then it was like me and another guy in a blue shirt.
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and that's when the shooter like walked out from behind a wall. >> how did he seem to you? what did he look like? >> he sort of seemed like confused, like dazed, like walking around. he had a gun in his hand or the rifle in his hand. and at first i didn't see it because he just briefly appeared before he went behind like an advertising board. and then once he came out from behind the board, then i recognized it was a rifle. >> and was he saying anything? you said he seemed confused. was that the expressing he had on his face? >> yeah, well, he was just like roaming around like with no place to go. i mean, he literally did a couple of circles and then walked off. and then once he turned around and sort of looked in our direction, me and this other gentleman, we were already by
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the exit so we were just waiting to run out. but he looked toward our way, he didn't raise a gun or anything. but it scared us enough that we just ran out. >> and tom, i understand you saw the shooter as well. you went back for your wife's purse. is that when you saw him walking around? >> yeah, yeah. he may be describing me for all i know. i just heard his story. if you can imagine right before this happened i'm walking back from starbucks to bring her a cup of coffee. you see this wave of 1500 people or so running towards you. and there was a lot of confusion as to what we were running for. i didn't hear a noise or anything. and people just started reacting and hitting the floor. and then like he said, somebody opened the door to the tarmac. everybody went running out. i ran out as well. and my wife said hey could you go get my bag. and again i went back in. and that's when i saw him walking around. and just like he was describing,
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very methodical. just sort of not really in a hurry. very calm, collected, just kind of slowly looking around. but definitely with his gunpointed out, wearing very baggy clothes, tall, slender white man. >> tall, slender. so he wasn't particularly like a big guy. >> no. not a big guy. tall, slender, looked young. then again just baggy clothes and the gun was unmistakeable. >> were both of you interviewed by police? >> no, i wasn't. it was a mad, chaotic scene around the police. so i sort of avoided that. hoping that i'd do it later. but as soon as they heard a few stories. >> yeah, no, i just got done being interviewed for about 30 minutes by the police. after this all happened they
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bussed everybody to another terminal. there was about a three-hour wait before police came and said hey did anybody see anything. i raised my hand. there were about 50 of us. we just got done with interviews right now. i think they're just about to let us go. >> well, i know it's been an incredibly long, difficult day for you, vernon and tom, thanks for take the time to talk. thanks. >> absolutely. up next tonight why today's killing marks a sad milestone for the tsa. also investigating any political and global connections. we'll check in with our national securi security correspondent. [ male announcer ] at humana, understanding what makes you different is what makes us different. we take the time to get to know you and your unique health needs. then we help create a personalized healthcare experience that works for you. and you. and you. with 50 years of know-how,
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as we mentioned earlier, the tsa officer murdered today is the first employee of that agency to be killed in the line of duty. the tsa was created obviously in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. our national security correspondent jim sciutto is in washington tonight. jim is there any indication at all connection to any international terrorist group? i've heard of none at this point. >> reporter: i have been in touch with the national counterterrorism center. they see no indication of ties to international terrorism. they're not ruling out domestic terrorism. they don't see any cases of that, either. i suppose it's how you define it. he was targeting tsa agents. he had anti-government literature on his person. he shut down an airport. you could call that a form of terrorism but they're not calling it that at this point. >> there's still a lot we don't know and a lot still being
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investigated, but does it seem like the tsa was prepared to handle a situation like this? >> reporter: it's interesting. the airport security just three weeks before did an active shooter training event for l.a.x. they took over a whole unoccupied terminal at a nearby airport, put 300 officers through an event just like this one. many of those who took part today say that training like that made a real difference for how they responded. tsa agents are not armed. they prefer to leave the shooting they say the head of their union says to the many armed guards that are in that airport. there are more than 2,000 tsa officers, more than 1,000 l.a. airport police many armed. air marshalls. a lot of and officers in l.a.x. the tsa officers have not asked to be armed but they are the frontline of defense. we saw that today. they were the first ones to face this threat. one of them lost his life for it. >> jim, appreciate the update. thanks. for more on the bigger picture i
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spoke earlier with tom ridge. during the bush administration he was the nation's first secretary of homeland security. >> mr. secretary, appreciate you joining us. as we said this was the first time a tsa employee has been killed in the line of duty since the organization was established during a time in the bush administration. what do you make of what happened today at l.a.x.? what are the main sort of points you're looking at or interested in finding out more details on? >> well first of all i think you're right. there's still more details to be determined. let's be very clear. i think all the other guests have spoken to this. the possibility of an individual coming into a terminal with a hidden firearm is real. and it's something that they're going to have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. there are 1.8 million passengers a day that go through over 450 airports. and so this is a real challenge that as i think tom pointed out, as horrible as the tragedy was the resiliency and the response mechanisms built in because of preparation and training is something to be lauded.
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not to take away from the pain and suffering of the family of the deceased. we have several victims. but at the end of the day there's certain kinds of risks for which there is really no sensible, thoughtful, reasonable, economically appropriate way to abandon or to eradicate. this happens to be one of them at airports. >> i mean, it's already illegal to bring a weapon into an airport. so it's not like you can pass another law saying we'll make it even more illegal to do that. for those who think well tsa agents maybe they should be armed. what do you think? >> i think it's a big mistake. you have literally hundreds and hundreds of and police officers roaming every major airport in america. and i don't think arming another 40 or 50 or 60,000 people -- not sure how many employees there are -- would have prevented this incident from happening. when the individual removed the firearm, began firing, the response mechanism kicked in. so i personally think that's a very bad idea.
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this is awn speakable tragedy, anderson. and i know we're going to be questioning the motives of this particular individual. but the end of the day, anderson, if you and i did this show a week from now, there would probably be 3 or 400 other people dying because of firearms homicides. and we're not quite sure what their motives are going to be. but this once again speaks to an eruption of interest because of this horrible incident in a public place and a federal employee that between now and monday there'll be 50 or 60 people that will never be reported about, there'll be no public discussion. it will either be a gang war over turf, it will be drugs, it will be someone with a severe mental challenge that got access to a firearm. and hopefully one of these days you and other folks will make this conversation a permanent part of civil dialogue. we just have to get about doing it. it's not a news cycle or two and we need to do a lot deeper dive into this. and i'm glad you raised the
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issue, but again, it's a cultural violence. there are many aspects to it. this is just one more horrible incident. not to take away from the tragedy. it's unspeakable. and there's a lot of pain and suffering. but we really have to start thinking a lot deeper and doing a lot more than simply talking about the violence of firearms. >> and the indication that this person was specifically asking people whether they were with the t sa. >> interesting. >> does that surprise you? >> well, it's bizarre. listen, you and i both know -- let's go back to timothy mcvay, anderson. we know there are some people who have turned to violence. god forbid just awful violence. you go look at oklahoma city because of grudges or hatred or whatever the evil, the dark side, the emotion in their heart and their head, and that's the excuse and that's the motive. but then again, i think in 2010 there were like 12,000 firearm
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homicides and the motives were all over the place. so i think we have to be very careful not to just categorize and suggest that this is the only motive we ought to be worried about. i think there are broader issues that have to be discussed here. but clearly if he had a grievance against the government for whatever reason we're going to find out a lot more about it. but notwithstanding that, they may have been his motive but i'm not sure you could have done anything to prevent this particular incident from happening. >> tom ridge, appreciate your time tonight. thank you. >> always good talking with you, anderson. a short time ago the police chief in pennsville, new jersey spoke out his father's home. he said when the father received these text messages that was the first inkling they had of trouble. he said until then they had no idea anything was wrong or might mooit have been leading up to what happened today. the family said they did not know he owned a firearm of any type. that's the latest information we have. that does it for this edition of "ac 360 later." thanks for watching. "unguarded with rachel nichols"
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starts now. hi. i'm rachel nichols. welcome to "unguarded" a sports show that brings you the candid human side of some of the world's most talented human beings and explores the issues that extend off the field to touch us all. welcome. thanks for joining us. whether you're a hard core fan or just like hearing interesting things about interesting people, this is your show for compelling and unguarded interviews


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