Esteban Santiago identified as Ft Lauderdale shooter, 5 dead, 8 injured
New Jersey-born Iraq veteran Esteban Santiago has been identified as the gunman who killed five people and wounded eight others at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport today.
Authorities had not released any motive for Friday’s violence, though an unidentified source told CBS that he walked into an FBI office in November and said he was being forced to fight for ISIS.
The FBI’s Anchorage office would only confirm to the Daily News that it “is aware Esteban Santiago is an Anchorage resident” but did not comment on whether it had previously been aware of him.
Santiago arrived at the busy airport on a flight from Anchorage, Alaska, and the gun used in the shooting was in his checked baggage lawfully, NBC News reports.
One eyewitness told NBC Miami that he was standing in baggage claim when the active shooter walked in and started randomly shooting people, including several people in the head. He said that people were left bloodied and that people fell on each side of him.
John Schlichner, who was returning from a cruise, said on NBC News that “it was like a shooting gallery.” He said there was no security around and the shooter reloaded and kept shooting. He told Fox News,
“People on either side of me were going down, so I dropped to the ground, my mother-in-law and my wife did. The firing just went on and on.”
Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca said that the shooter picked up his weapon from checked baggage before beginning his rampage.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said he believes that Santiago acted alone.
Federal sources claim that Santiago got into an argument during his flight from Alaska to Florida.
Alaska court records show that Santiago was arrested last January for damaging property and assault.
Just in November, Santiago walked into an FBI office in Anchorage and told agents he was being forced to fight for ISIS. He was hospitalized in a psychiatric facility after police were called there.
According to the Mirror, the shooter “was apprehended by authorities when he stopped shooting to reload, witnesses said.”