TODAY   |  November 02, 2013

Officials: Alleged shooter targeted TSA agents

LAX shooting suspect Paul Ciancia was allegedly carrying "radical anti-government written material" in which he said the TSA was violating his civil rights, NBC’s Pete Williams reports. “It just doesn't make sense,” Ciancia's roommate said.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> pete williams is our justice correspondent. pete, what more do we know about the shooter?

>> well, i think the big question is why a 23-year-old who apparently didn't fly very much wouldj0 for the tsa. they say paul anthony ciancia was apparently targeting only employees at the tsa and carrying radical anti-government written material in which he called the tsa, quote, pigs, and said it was violating his civil rights . police in penville, new jersey, where his family live say he ? message sent his brother a text on friday saen said he would not be alive much longer. police and fbi have questioned members of his family in new jersey and ciancia's father tells us he complained last week about the state of the coman not having a job. one of his roommates in los angeles says they never suspected him of anything like this.

>> i'm absolutely shocked. i can't -- i'm still trying to wrap my brain around it because knowing this guy, i can't believe that he would -- it just doesn't make sense.

>> reporter: authorities say he fired the shots from a semiautomatic rifle like an ar-15 and they say he was carrying several ammunition magazines with well over a hundred rounds, lester.

>> pete, we put the tsa agents out front of the important security checkpoint. they are the first line of security, yet, my understanding they have no arrest powers and they are certainly not armed. could that change as a result of this?

>> reporter: i doubt it. the people i've talked with this morning at tsa and homeland security say that was never what tsa people were envisioned to do. they don't have firearms training and they don't do, quote/unquote, airport security . they do screening of passengers. the security of the airport is in the hands of airport officials. as it was in los angeles with los angeles airport police who eventually encountered the shooter and shot him so i doubt this will change. at least the initial thinking this should not change the fact that tsa employees are not armed because they have an entirely different task.

>> all right. pete williams , thanks very much.