Accused LAX shooter Paul Ciancia an unknown in his hometown

(CBS News) PENNSVILLE, N.J. - Investigators looking for a motive into the fatal shooting of a Transportation Security Administration officer at Los Angeles International Airport Friday won't appear to get much from the people of accused gunman Paul Ciancia's hometown in southern New Jersey.

Although he was raised here, Ciancia was very much an unknown.

As the town of Pennsville continues to ask what allegedly drove Ciancia to violence, Police Chief Allen Cummings had no new answers Saturday night, except for what his family is going through.

"They're confused," said Cummings. "They don't know how it happened. They don't know what caused it."

But all day, his family's neighbors were asking lots of questions.

"It's hard to believe, I guess, you know, coming from a small town like this, that somebody could do something like that," said trainer Johnny Crawford, who works at the local gym.

"Nobody really knew who he was," said Crawford. "He was kind of like this mystery kid from this town."

Ciancia's alleged actions Friday are baffling to those who did know him. A graduate of a Roman Catholic high school in Delaware with no criminal history, the 23-year-old moved to Los Angeles a year and a half ago, shortly after his mother died of a long-term illness.

Josh Pagan grew up across the street from Ciancia and went to school with his brother.

"When I, you know, had any interaction with him, he was a friendly guy, and there had to be something horrific to go on for him to go and do something like this," Pagan said.

Federal authorities are piecing together why Ciancia sent his younger brother an apparent suicide text, one that led his family to alert police.

Authorities tell CBS News the elder Paul Ciancia remains here at home. No word yet on when or if he'll fly to Los Angeles to be closer to his son.

  • Michelle Miller

    Michelle Miller is an award-winning CBS News correspondent based in New York, reporting for all CBS News broadcasts and platforms. Her work regularly appears on the "CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley", "CBS This Morning" and "CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood". She joined CBS News in 2004.

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