Paul Ciancia's Family Releases Statement Sympathizing With Victims, Expressing Support For Suspect

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The family of 23-year-old LAX shooting suspect Paul Ciancia is standing by their "son and brother" amid his recovery and murder charges.

In a statement released Monday through their attorney John Jordan, the family asked for understanding from the public, saying that they would continue to love and care for Ciancia during "the difficult time ahead."

"While we do not mean to minimize the grief and distress experienced by many other families, we hope that the public will understand that this is a very difficult time for our family, too," reads the statement.

Ciancia is accused of murdering 39-year-old TSA agent Gerardo I. Hernandez and injuring several more victims Friday in a public shooting at the Los Angeles International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the country. Ciancia was shot four times by law enforcement officers responding to the scene and is now under 24-hour armed guard at a local hospital, reports the Associated Press.

His family also expressed sympathy for the Hernandez family and friends, calling it the "most important" part of their statement. Hernandez leaves behind his 35-year-old wife, Ana, and two children.

"It is most important to us as a family that we express our deep and sincere sympathy to the Hernandez family," reads the statement. "By all accounts, Officer Hernandez was an exemplary member of the law enforcement community and a good family man. Our hearts go out to his family and many others who grieve his passing."

Ciancia is from Pennsville, N.J. and had moved to Los Angeles only recently. On the day of the shooting, Ciancia sent alarming text messages to his family in New Jersey that led them to believe he was about to hurt himself, according to the Los Angeles Times. Ciancia's father called Los Angeles police officers and asked them to conduct a welfare check on him, but by the time they arrived at his home in Sun Valley, Ciancia was already on his way to the airport, notes the Times.

A friend dropped him off at LAX, though officials believe the roommate had no idea what Ciancia planned to do. Ciancia allegedly entered the airport with an assault rifle and a handwritten letter that detailed his violent intentions, according to AP.

Ciancia could face the death penalty if convicted.

Below, read the Ciancia family's statement in full.

My name is John Jordan. I am the attorney for Paul Ciancia. The Ciancia family has asked me to make this brief statement on their behalf.

We, like most Americans, are shocked and numbed by the tragic events of last Friday. We acknowledge the need to understand what happened and why it happened. To that end, we have fully cooperated with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies over the last several days.

It is most important to us as a family that we express our deep and sincere sympathy to the Hernandez family. By all accounts, Officer Hernandez was an exemplary member of the law enforcement community and a good family man. Our hearts go out to his family and many others who grieve his passing.

We wish to convey our hopes that those wounded during this incident will experience quick and full recoveries. We also regret the inconvenience experienced by thousands of travelers as well as the administration and employees of the Los Angelos [sic] airport.

Paul is our son and brother. We will continue to love and care for him. We will support him during the difficult time ahead. While we do not mean to minimize the grief and distress experienced by many other families, we hope that the public will understand that this is a very difficult time for our family, too.

The Ciancia family, our neighbors and friends need time to heal, so we ask you to respect our privacy.

No further statements will be issued and I will not take any questions. Thank you.

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