The young man from New Jersey believed to have carried out a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport had sent a sibling a text message mentioning suicide, leading their father to seek authorities' help in finding him, a New Jersey police chief said Friday.
Paul Ciancia's father called Pennsville Police Chief Allen Cummings early Friday afternoon saying another of his children had received a text message from the 23-year-old "in reference to him taking his own life," the chief told The Associated Press.
The elder Ciancia, the owner of an auto-body shop in southern New Jersey, asked for help in locating Paul, Cummings said. The chief called Los Angeles police, which sent a patrol car to Ciancia's apartment. It wasn't clear whether the police visited before or after the airport shooting.
"Basically, there were two roommates there," Cummings said. "They said, 'We saw him yesterday and he was fine.'"
He told Ciancia's father that because of his son's age, he couldn't take a missing persons report.
A law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity identified Paul Ciancia as the man who pulled a semi-automatic rifle from a bag and shot his way past a security checkpoint at the airport, killing a security officer and wounding two other people.
The gunman was wounded in a shootout with police and was taken into custody, Los Angeles police said.
The official who identified Ciancia was briefed at the airport on the investigation and requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
The shooter was wearing fatigues and carrying a bag containing a handwritten note that said he "wanted to kill TSA and pigs," the official said. A second law enforcement official confirmed the identity, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.
The Pennsville Police Department had no dealings with the younger Ciancia, Cummings said. He and neighbors described the Ciancias as a good, nice family.
The suspect's father had been involved with Pennsville's Fraternal Order of Police, said neighbor Orlando Pagan, a lieutenant in nearby Penns Grove. He didn't provide details on his involvement.
Outside the father's home Friday in Pennsville — across the Delaware River from Wilmington, Del. — a police cruiser blocked the long driveway to the home, which isn't visible from the road. Phone calls weren't answered, and efforts to reach siblings were also unsuccessful.
Orlando Pagan's 17-year-old son Josh said that he would sometimes encounter Ciancia at orthodontist appointments, but that it had been at least two years since the last one.
"He was never weird toward me. He never gave me any weird vibes," he said, adding that in the 10 years he's lived across the street from the Ciancia family "they've been nothing but nice to us."