It is with heavy hearts that we announce five people are dead and eight others are injured after a shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The shooter, Esteban Santiago, 26, removed his gun from luggage and opened fire at the baggage claim. He was then taken into custody without incident. At this time, officials aren’t sure of his motive or if there was one.
Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said a lone suspect was responsible for the shooting, but other authorities are calling her bluff (stating she’s lying) saying there may be a second shooter- the Broward Sheriff’s office is searching the parking garage. (We used to live there and wouldn’t trust the mayor, either.)
According to CNN, we know the following about Santiago:
- The suspect joined the National Guard in Puerto Rico in 2007. In April 2010, he went to Iraq for 10 months. A spokeswoman for the Alaska Army National Guard said Santiago was in the Army Reserves before he joined the guard there in November 2014. Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead said Santiago was discharged in August for unsatisfactory performance.
- The suspect showed up several months ago at an FBI office in Anchorage. He was interviewed and said he was hearing voices in his head, including some telling him to join ISIS. He was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation where he voluntarily checked himself in.
- Law enforcement sources told CNN that the suspect flew to Florida on Friday from Alaska and had declared the firearm. When he arrived at the airport, the suspect retrieved a bag at baggage claim, took out the gun and started firing, the sources said. One source said he went to the bathroom to get the gun out of his luggage and emerged firing.
From the Local 10 News article:
“…reporter Jeff Weinsier was reporting live from the airport when deputies and other law enforcement armed with guns converged upon a parking garage and yelled at someone, “Hands up.”
Sky 10 was above the airport shortly after 1 p.m. as passengers were standing on the tarmac outside Terminal 2.”
At the time of the shooting, all services at the airport were suspended, traffic to the airport was being diverted, and a BSO armored vehicle was blocking the ramp from Interstate 595.
Gov. Scott traveled to Fort Lauderdale to be briefed by law enforcement, national security advisors were said to have briefed President Obama, and President-elect Donald Trump mentioned (on Twitter) that he was “monitoring the terrible situation in Florida” and had been in communication with Gov. Scott.
We will update you as we have more information.