5 dead, 6 injured in Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting

Gunman identified as Esteban Santiago
Posted at 4:44 PM, Jan 06, 2017

UPDATE | Most of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport was open for business Saturday.

Airport officials reopened terminals 1, 3 and 4 about 5 a.m. Saturday.

Plans were under way to reopen Terminal 2 by Saturday night. It is where a lone gunman opened fire in a baggage claim area, killing 5 people and injuring a half dozen others Friday.

On Saturday Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel revised the number of injured from 8, as announced on Friday, down to 6 people. Israel said 3 of the injured were in intensive care units; the other 3 were hospitalized in stable condition.

A FBI agent from the Miami office said the suspected shooter, 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, traveled from Alaska to Fort Lauderdale with the intent to commit the shooting. Santiago surrendered and was taken into custody without injury.  

Investigators are looking into Santiago's background, including his medical history for clues to what may have led to the shooting, officials said.

ORIGINAL STORY | An arriving airline passenger pulled a gun from his luggage and opened fire in the baggage claim area at the Fort Lauderdale airport Friday, killing five people and wounding eight before throwing his weapon down and lying spread-eagle on the ground, authorities and witnesses said.

The gunman, identified as Esteban Santiago, 26, is in custody and was a lone shooter, Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief told CNN on Friday.

Authorities gave no details on a possible motive for the shooting, which sent panicked passengers running out of the terminal and onto the tarmac, baggage in hand, and forced the shutdown of the entire airport.





Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida said that the gunman was carrying a military ID.


MORE: What we know about Esteban Santiago

Santiago's brother said his he received psychological treatment in Alaska and had served in Guard, according to the Associated Press.

President Barack Obama was briefed by his Homeland Security adviser, the White House said.

Florida Governor Rick Scott flew to Ft. Lauderdale after learning about the shooting.

"My heart goes out to every family impacted.  This is a senseless act of evil," Scott said. "Whoever is responsible will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

PHOTOS | Shooting at Ft. Lauderdale Airport kills 5

President Obama said he is "heartbroken" for the families of the victims.

"These kinds of tragedies have happened too often during the years that I've been president," Obama said. "The pain, the grief, the shock that they must be going through is enormous."

It is legal for airline passengers to travel with guns and ammunition as long as the firearms are put in a checked bag — not a carry-on — and are unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container. Guns must be declared to the airline at check-in.

The attack took place at Terminal 2, which serves Delta Air Lines and Air Canada.

During a late news conference, investigators said at least 37 others were hurt during today's incident -- injuries included broken legs, cuts, and fall intrusions.





Delta has not confirmed Santiago was a passenger on their flight, but released the following statement.

"Delta is working closely with law enforcement in their investigation, and out of respect to that investigation, details about the suspect will come from law enforcement officials."

Mark Lea, a witness, said the gunman said nothing as he "went up and down the carousels of the baggage claim, shooting through luggage to get at people that were hiding."

The killer had a handgun and went through about three magazines of ammunition, Lea said.  "He threw the gun down and laid spread-eagle on the ground until the officer came up to him," Lea said.

VIDEO: Witness describes chaos




Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said five people were killed and eight were wounded. Their condition was not disclosed. He said the gunman was arrested unharmed, with no law enforcement officers firing any shots, and was being questioned by the FBI.

People spilled onto the tarmac, some carrying luggage, and some ran from both Terminals 1 and 2, hiding behind cars or anything else they could find to shield themselves.

The airport suspended operations as law enforcement authorities rushed to the scene and emergency medical workers treated the bleeding victims. Fort Lauderdale-bound flights already in the air were delayed or diverted, and those that had yet to take off from the airport were held on the ground.

At least one person appeared to be lying in a pool of blood with a head wound.

John Schilcher told Fox News said he came up to the baggage claim and heard the first gunshot as he picked up his bag off a carousel.\

"The person next to me fell to the ground and then I started hearing other pops. And as this happened, other people started falling and you could hear it and smell it, and people on either side of me were going down and I just dropped to the ground," said Schilcher, who was there with his wife and mother-in-law. "The firing just went on and on."

"I was down on the floor. When we finally looked up there was a policeman standing over me," he said. "That's when I assumed it was safe."

WARNING: Some images shared on social media are graphic in nature.




VIDEO: Thousands stranded at Port Everglades after shooting




MORE: Statement from Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler

Multiple reports on social media — including tweets from former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, described the shooting.