As many as 5 people are dead and six others are injured after a shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The shooting happened just after 1:00 Friday when a shooter identified by Florida Sen. Bill Nelson as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago born in New Jersey, opened fire randomly on passengers waiting for their luggage. Sources at the Broward Sheriff’s Office tell 850 WFTL the shooting occurred the baggage area of Terminal 2.
John Schlicher who witnessed the incident told news outlets that he was just inches away from the gun man when he opened fire.
“The person right next to me fell to the ground. I turned around and a man with a black gun was right behind me and he started shooting randomly,” Schlicher told NBC News in a phone interview. “My wife and mother in law were traveling with me. Luckily none of us were injured. The two people to my left and the two people to my right were shot. There was blood everywhere. The people who were shot were shot in the head.”
Another witness was Chip LaMarca, who told 850 WFTL that he saw the 26-year-old who arrived on a flight from Alaska, pull the gun out of his baggage that he claimed in the baggage area.
LaMarca also wrote about the incident on Facbook.
“The shooter claimed his bag and took the gun from baggage and went into the bathroom to load it and then came out shooting people in baggage claim,” Lamarca wrote.
According to Mark Lea via NY Daily News, Santiago was able to reload his .9-mm handgun multiple times before he ran out of bullets then he sat down on the floor to wait for officers to arrive.
Santiago was taken into custody where he is currently being questioned regarding the shooting.
The Sheriff’s office confirmed that the report of a second shooter was unfounded.
Passengers have been ordered to remain aboard their flights while the scene is secured, others have been evacuated to the tarmac outside the terminal.
Gov. Rick Scott spoke to news outlets saying that the state of Florida will not deal with this sort of incident and that anyone responsible will face the full extent of the law .
According to Santiago’s brother, Esteban severed in the National Guard and sought psychological help in Alaska after being brought to the attention of the FBI by a co-worker.
Sources at the National Guard also tell AP that Santiago was discharged from the National Guard last year for what was called an “unsatisfactory performance.”
(Photo courtesy of New York Daily News)
The Fort Laurderale-Hollywood International airport has been resumed normal operation as of 5:00am Saturday morning. Terminals 1,3, 4 are open for normal business, however, terminal 2 may remain closed for a few more hours.
Friends and family of loved ones who may be at the airport can call 866-435-9355 for more information.
Those who have scheduled flights are suggested to contact their airline.
(Photo Courtesy of The Howie Carr Show)
Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleicher was at FLL when the shooting occurred:
I’m at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. Shots have been fired. Everyone is running.
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) January 6, 2017
— Ft. Laude-Hlwd Int’l (@FLLFlyer) January 6, 2017
Confirmed: Shooting at Fort Lauderdale -Hollywood International Airport with multiple people dead. One subject in custody.
— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) January 6, 2017
I am on my way to Fort Lauderdale International Airport to be briefed by law enforcement.
— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) January 6, 2017