LAX Gunman From South Jersey, Sent Family Ominous Text Before Shooting: Police

The gunman suspected of using a semi-automatic rifle to open fire on TSA agents inside Los Angeles International Airport on Friday is originally from South Jersey, police tell NBC10.

Paul Ciancia, 23, grew up in Pennsville, Salem County, N.J., according to Pennsville Police Chief Allen J. Cummings. He's been living in Los Angeles recently, but authorities are not sure for how long.

Authorities say Ciancia walked into Terminal 3 at Los Angeles International Airport around 9:30 a.m. Pacific time on Friday, pulled a rifle from a bag and began firing.

Authorities say Ciancia was armed with "hundreds of rounds" of ammunition, as reported by NBC4 Los Angeles.

"There were more than 100 more rounds that could've literally killed everybody in that terminal today," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

Described as a lone gunman, he then pushed through a security checkpoint and fired into the airport, Los Angeles Police said.

A TSA agent, now identified as Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39, was killed and several others were left shot and injured, officials said.

Travelers waiting inside LAX for their flights to Philadelphia described the shooting scene as "chaotic" and "surreal."

Police say the alleged shooter’s teenage brother got a text message from Ciancia on Friday saying he was thinking about taking his life.

The family contacted Pennsville Police and around 1 p.m. Pennsville's police chief called Los Angeles Police to do a well-being check on Ciancia, police said.

Los Angeles Police went to Ciancia's apartment. The man wasn't there, but his roommates told police everything was fine, authorities said.

Pennsville Police say they have not had any prior dealings with Ciancia. 

Standing in front of the Pennsville home, Chief Cummings described the family as "good people."

"We're going to keep looking into this as best we can (and) keep the family safe and secure," said Cummings.

A neighbor, who has lived across from the Ciancia family for 10 years, expressed his shock to NBC10. "Not in a million years would I ever believe anyone from that family... or even this town, nothing ever happens here," said Joshua Pagan.

Ciancia graduated in 2008 from Salesianum School, an all-boys Roman Catholic school in Wilmington, the school said.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

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