FBI: Gunman Went to LAX to Kill

The Egyptian immigrant who killed two people and wounded three others in a shooting at an Israeli airline counter at Los Angeles International Airport came to LAX intending to kill people, investigators believe.

However, authorities still have not determined why the man, identified as Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, 41, brought two pistols, extra ammunition and a knife to the airport, and refused to categorize the shooting as an act of terrorism.

""It appears he went there with the intention of killing people. Why he did that is what we are still trying to determine," said FBI Special Agent Richard Garcia.

Though the gunman, who was overpowered and shot dead by security guards, was of Middle Eastern origin and the incident occurred at an El Al counter, authorities continued to caution against assuming the shooting was related to terrorism.

Garcia said there was still no indication that the shooting was connected with terrorism, and said Hadayet was not on any FBI or Federal Aviation Administration watch list. The man had no criminal history, either, the agent said.

Another possible scenario that is being considered is that Hadayet was despondent, possibly over family problems, Garcia said. Hadayet's wife returned to Egypt recently, but investigators are not yet sure why, he said.

Police had been called to Hadayet's home to respond to domestic disputes, Garcia said, but he could not give any details about those incidents.

Investigators are waiting for a warrant to allow them to examine the contents of Hadayet's computer, and are trying to discover whether he has other relatives or friends living in the United States who could shed some light on the man's character.

"There is no evidence, no indication at this time that this is terrorists," White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said earlier today.

Hadayet immigrated to the United States from Egypt 10 years ago and lived in an Irvine, Calif., townhouse complex, from which he operated a limousine service.

Federal and local authorities spent the night combing through his home, searching for clues to a motive for the Fourth of July shooting. They came away with several boxes of material, Hadayet's computer and impounded two cars.

"At this point we don't [know his motive]," Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief David Gascom said today on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America. "The FBI is looking to pore through his background and discover whatever we can to make an assessment of the motive."

Gascom said it was not yet known whether Hadayet belonged to any political groups.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said shortly after the shooting that it was clearly a terrorist act, and a government official said today that the identity of the gunman only strengthened that belief.

"We said it last night and I'm saying it now — we are assuming it was a terrorist attack until it is proven otherwise," Israeli Transport Minister Ephraim Sneh told Israel Radio. "As far as we're concerned this is not an isolated incident."

Investigators are questioning friends and relatives of the man, trying to get a clearer picture of who Hadayet was and what could have led him to start shooting.

‘I Saw People Falling …’

The incident began at around 11:30 a.m. Thursday, when, according to the FBI, Hadayet approached the El Al ticket counter in the airport's crowded international terminal, pulled out a gun and started firing.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...