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By that time, shots were already breaking out at the airport.
"There’s nothing we could do to stop him," Cummings said.
The police chief said he never met Paul Ciancia Jr., but that he learned from his father that he attended a technical school in Florida, then moved to Los Angeles in 2012 hoping to get a job as a motorcycle mechanic. But he was having trouble finding work.
"I’ve never dealt with the kids," the chief said. "They were never on the police blotter, nothing like that."
Ciancia graduated in December 2011 from Motorcycle Mechanics Institute in Orlando, Fla., said Tina Miller, a spokeswoman for Universal Technical Institute, the Scottsdale, Ariz., company that runs the school.
A basic motorcycle mechanic course takes about a year, she said.
After arriving in LA, Ciancia stayed on the couch of an acquaintance at the Rancho Los Feliz Apartment Homes for two weeks, said apartment manager David Plaxen. Ciancia was never on a lease.
The attack at the nation’s third-busiest airport halted caused flight delays and cancellations nationwide. Some Los Angeles-bound flights that already were in the air were diverted elsewhere.
As gunshots rang out in Terminal 3, swarms of passengers screamed, dropped to the ground or ran for their lives.
Others fled into the terminal, taking refuge in coffee shops and lounges as the gunman shot his way toward them. Some witnesses and authorities said the gunman ignored anyone except TSA targets.
Leon Saryan had just passed through security and was looking for a place to put his shoes and belt back on when he gunfire. He fled with a TSA worker, who he said was later wounded slightly, and managed to hide in a store. As he was cowering in the corner, the shooter approached.
"He looked at me and asked, ‘TSA?’ I shook my head no, and he continued on down toward the gate. He had his gun at the ready and, but for the grace of God, I am here to tell about it," said Saryan, of Milwaukee.
Friends and neighbors remembered Hernandez as a doting father of two and a good neighbor who went door-to-door warning neighbors to be careful after his home in the Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles was burglarized.
Friday’s attack was not the first shooting at LAX. On July 4, 2002, a limousine driver opened fire at the airport’s El Al ticket counter, killing an airline employee and a person who was dropping off a friend at the terminal. Police killed the gunman.
In recent weeks, the airport police emergency services unit trained the entire department on active shooter drills.
Mulvihill reported from New Jersey. Associated Press writers Gillian Flaccus and Alicia Chang in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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