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5 Dead, 8 Hurt in Shooting at Fort Lauderdale Airport; Gunman in Custody

Image: 5 Dead, 8 Hurt in Shooting at Fort Lauderdale Airport; Gunman in Custody

By    |   Friday, 06 Jan 2017 04:15 PM

Five people were killed and eight injured Friday after a gunman opened fire in the baggage area of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida — and a suspect was arrested shortly thereafter without incident by Broward County sheriff's deputies.

The gunman, identified in various news reports as Esteban Santiago, 26, is a member of the U.S. Army National Guard, according to news reports. 

 

He allegedly checked a handgun in his luggage and then retrieved it at the Terminal 2 baggage claim.

Santiago reportedly loaded the gun in a bathroom then came out and opened fire shortly before 1 p.m. He lived in Anchorage, Ala., from 2014 to 2016.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel declined to identify the suspect or confirm any details surrounding Santiago — saying only that a suspect was arrested without incident.

"We have the shooter in custody," Israel told reporters. "He's unharmed.
"No law enforcement fired any shots."

Israel said that the suspect was being interviewed by FBI agents and local authorities.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International remained closed late Friday afternoon as authorities completed their investigation.

Passengers were not allowed to leave the airport — thousands were scattered on the tarmac being removed from numerous flights — nor were planes allowed to depart or land.

"We're at the beginning stages," Israel said. "That's what this is all about."

Israel said that he could not yet say whether the shooting was an act of terror.

"I can’t say that there was a viable threat," the sheriff told reporters. "We have to clear the airport.

"It’s a common-sense approach."

He also declined to give any information on the victims or the injured, pending proper notification.

"At this point, it looks like he acted alone," Israel said.

Mark Gale, the airport's director, said that "the terminals are very full.

"Our passengers are sheltered in place. We are working to get them released systematically terminal by terminal to make sure folks are able to exit safely."

Gale told reporters that he could estimate how many people were in the terminal when the shooting began but that as many as 80,000 to 100,000 passengers come through the airport every day.

"We're going to go again very methodically before making any decisions and releasing additional passengers on top of those already still in the facility," he said.

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said that Santiago was carrying a military ID and that authorities were determining whether it belonged to him or to someone else.

He called the baggage claim area a "soft target" because it is outside the range of TSA officers.

"The best deterrence is the dog," he told Brooke Baldwin on CNN. "After the German shooting a year ago, we doubled those dog teams.

"The problem is you can't have enough dog teams for all the airports and all the crowds that we have," Nelson said.

The scene at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International was one of chaos and panic, as terrified passengers quickly fled from where the gunshots were being fired.

Former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, who was in the airport, posted these tweets:

 

"I was one of the lucky ones that got out somewhat quickly," David Steiger, a passenger from Pennsylvania who had entered the claim area shortly before the shooting began, told CNN's Baldwin.

"I walked from the second level down to the first level, where the ground transportation is," he continued. "People were running towards me screaming 'there's a shooter, there's a shooter.'

"I heard faint muffled sounds in the background. I couldn't tell if it was a shot being fired but could tell something was going on.

"The people running towards me were scared," Steiger said. "I really couldn't see anything except for the cops flying — and I had a woman hide behind me.

"I was kind of huddled in a corner hoping that no shots were going to be fired my way."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Five people were killed and eight injured Friday after a gunman opened fire in the baggage area of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida - and a suspect was arrested shortly thereafter without incident by Broward County sheriff's deputies.
shots, fort lauderdale, airport
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2017-15-06
Friday, 06 Jan 2017 04:15 PM
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