No history of mental illness in New Jersey
Allen Cummings, the police chief in Ciancia's hometown of Pennsville, New Jersey, said Ciancia has no history of violence or recorded mental illness. Family members told police he didn't seem troubled the last time they saw him -- when he visited family for a wedding this summer.
"Obviously, you know, they're upset," Cummings told CNN. "I mean, this is a shock to them. It's a shock to our community."
Ciancia grew up in a quiet, wooded neighborhood just minutes from the Delaware Memorial Bridge, according to The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware. Houses there are far apart, nestled in the woods at the end of driveways sometimes hundreds of feet long.
He once worked in a popular auto repair shop owned by his father, an associate member of the local Fraternal Order of Police who neighbors say has always been known for how well he takes care of customers there.
Remembered as quiet high school student
The younger Ciancia graduated in 2008 from an all-boys Catholic school, the Salesianum School, in Wilmington, according to Brendan P. Kennealey, the school president.
Classmates there described him as awkward, saying he never fit in.
"In four years, I never heard a word out of his mouth," David Hamilton, who graduated with Ciancia in 2008, told the Los Angeles Times. "He kept to himself and ate lunch alone a lot. I really don't remember any one person who was close to him."
Texts alarmed family
It wasn't immediately clear Saturday why he moved across the country. But that may have been where the first signs of trouble began to surface.
In texts to his brother and father, Ciancia said he was unhappy and discouraged living in Los Angeles, according to an intelligence source with knowledge of the investigation. The source spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the ongoing investigation.
It was one of those text messages that made his family think something bad was about to happen.
"Basically, the text message was just a message to the little brother, and the way it was written, they had some concern about it, and that's when they brought it to our attention," Cummings said.
The intelligence source described his texts as "angry" and "rambling."
Father called hometown police chief
The father called Cummings about 1:30 p.m. ET on Friday. Cummings, in turn, called the Los Angeles Police Department, asking them to check on him and make sure he was OK.
When they checked, he wasn't home.
The next Cummings heard, he said, were media reports linking Ciancia to the shooting.
Angry note found on suspect