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Condition of accused L.A. airport gunman improves: report

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The medical condition of a man who was shot by police after allegedly opening fire at Los Angeles International Airport earlier this month has improved, and he is no longer in a critical condition, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Asked to comment on the report, the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center said the one remaining male patient out of three it treated after the rampage "has been upgraded from critical to fair condition." A spokeswoman would not confirm the patient's identity.

Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, was arrested following the November 1 shooting and has been charged with murder of a federal officer and committing violence at an international airport, offenses for which he could face the death penalty if convicted.

Authorities charge that Ciancia walked into the airport's Terminal 3, took out an assault rifle from his bag and opened fire, shooting dead Gerardo Hernandez, a 39-year-old Transportation Security Administration officer at a document checkpoint, and wounding several other people.

According to the charges, Ciancia continued past metal detectors and stalked the passenger boarding area, shooting and wounding two other TSA employees and an airline passenger, before he was shot and captured.

A court declaration last week by the federal public defender's office said Ciancia suffered multiple bullet wounds, including a gunshot to the face, and it described him as unconscious and unable to communicate.

His condition has prevented him from making an initial court appearance or from being interviewed since being taken into custody. It was unclear how his recovery could change this.

The attack has sparked debate over security at U.S. airports and the safety of the unarmed staff who screen passengers.

(Reporting by Dana Feldman; Writing by Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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