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LAX shooting: Neighbors recall police at apartment linked to suspect

November 02, 2013|By Kate Mather and Abby Sewell
  • The Rancho Los Feliz apartments on Los Feliz Boulevard in Atwater Village have been linked to LAX shooting suspect Paul Anthony Ciancia.
The Rancho Los Feliz apartments on Los Feliz Boulevard in Atwater Village… (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

A lone security guard stood Saturday morning in front of an Atwater Village apartment complex linked to the man authorities say opened fire at Los Angeles International Airport the day before, killing a Transportation Safety Administration screener.

The suspect — identified by authorities as Paul Anthony Ciancia, a 23-year-old New Jersey native — lived for a time at an apartment complex on Los Feliz Boulevard in Atwater Village. It's unclear how long he lived in Los Angeles or where he most recently resided. A woman who answered the phone at the office of the apartment complex Saturday morning said, "He did not live here," but refused to elaborate.

Inside the large, shaded complex, residents recalled the police activity they saw near a back building Friday.

Mann Alfonso, 43, said a group of about four officers ran past him about 12:15 p.m. About a dozen more eventually followed, he said — some in plainclothes and others with LAPD uniforms and bullet-proof vests. They were "very quiet" as they approached the building, he said, and didn't have weapons drawn.

"When it was going on, I said, 'This has got to be important because every other cop in Southern California is at LAX right now,'" Alfonso said.

Alfonso said he recognized the suspect from the gym but had never spoken to him.

Marc Kreiner, who owns Morrison, a restaurant and bar next door to the apartment, said he knew Ciancia by sight. He had been into the bar about half a dozen times, he said.

“He was kind of a quiet guy, came in mostly by himself, and one time with a couple of guys,” he said.

In an email sent to apartment residents, the manager of the complex said staff "have learned from the news media that the shooter in the LAX tragedy may have been known by a resident living here."

"We have talked with the police department and they have indicated there is no safety issues to be concerned about at this time within our community," the email continued.

Lauren Brown, 60, a friend of a resident, said she also noticed police near the back building Friday afternoon. Initially, she said, she thought the "nicely dressed" person was touring a unit. It wasn't until she saw other officers with LAPD badges that she realized some sort of investigation was taking place.

Brown said she went into her friend's apartment, not wanting to disrupt their work. She said the investigators were there for about two hours before she left.

She initially inquired what was going on, she said, telling the officers, "In lieu of what happened at LAX this morning, you never know." 

The TSA employee who was shot and killed Friday at LAX was the first to die in the line of duty. Others were injured after a gunman opened fire at Terminal 3 shortly after 9 a.m. An investigation into the incident -- which shut down the airport for much of the day -- is ongoing.

Ciancia, who was shot by police at the airport, remained in critical condition at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center as of 8 a.m. Saturday. He was shot in the leg and head by an LAX police officer and sergeant, authorities said.


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