- A 26-year-old US Army veteran opened fire inside Fort Lauderdale International Airport
- Eight people were injured while five were killed during the incident
- The shooter was arrested unharmed and is being questioned by the FBI
- The airport has been closed down
The gunman who killed five people at a Florida airport walked calmly through the baggage claim area before wordlessly pulling a handgun from his waistband and shooting at victims who fled or dived to the floor in panic, a new video showed.
The 20 seconds of footage published on Saturday by website TMZ, apparently from a security camera, shows the suspect carrying a bag and clothing in his left hand as he strolled with other passengers past luggage carousels at Fort Lauderdale's airport.
Without warning, he pulls out a 9mm semi-automatic handgun with his right hand and fires it repeatedly at targets off-screen. Travelers nearby can be seen reacting in horror and scrambling for cover as the shots ring out.
TMZ did not say how it obtained the video. It said it had chosen to show only the seconds leading up to the first shots fired "and the panic that ensued."
FBI Sent Santiago To A Mental Institution in November
In November, Santiago turned up at a FBI office in Anchorage and told agents that his mind was being controlled by a US intelligence agency, which was ordering him to watch Islamic State videos, a federal law enforcement official told Reuters.
He was then sent to a mental hospital and a subsequent investigation turned up no evidence that he had connections to any foreign terrorist organisation.
No Canadian Connection
The suspect did not fly from Canada and was not on a Canadian flight, said a spokeswoman for the Canadian embassy in Washington.
“There is no Canadian connection,” said Christine Constantin. Citing US officials, she said the suspect had flown from Anchorage, Alaska to Fort Lauderdale via Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The shooter has been identified as Esteban Santiago. The 26-year-old, born in New Jersey, was an Army National Guard veteran who served in Iraq. According to his brother, he had been receiving psychological treatment recently.
Santiago served from 2007 to 2016 in the Puerto Rico National Guard and Alaska National Guard, including a deployment to Iraq from 2010 to 2011, according to the Pentagon.
His aunt told the Record that her nephew had recently become a father and was struggling with the role.
“It was like he lost his mind,” she said of his return from Iraq. “He said he saw things.”
A private first class and combat engineer, he received half-a-dozen medals before being transferred to the inactive ready reserve in August last year.
He had arrived on a flight from Canada with a checked gun in his bag, Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca said on Twitter. He claimed his bag and went to the bathroom to load the gun before coming out and firing, LaMarca said.
Additional Shots Fired
About 90 minutes after the attack, panic again broke out anew with passengers and police running frantically about the airport.
Dozens of police are sprinting back and forth with automatic weapons drawn, directing a large group of travellers.
A police officer was heard screaming “Get down, get down!” from a parking garage across the street from the airport terminal, a Reuters reporter witnessed.
Unconfirmed reports of additional shots fired on the airport property have emerged said a tweet by Broward Sheriff’s office.
“Stay Safe,” Tweets Trump
US President-elect Donald Trump in a tweet says that he’s monitoring the “terrible situation.”
Monitoring the terrible situation in Florida. Just spoke to Governor Scott. Thoughts and prayers for all. Stay safe!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2017
The White House informs that President Barack Obama was briefed by his Homeland Security adviser about the incident.
Eight people were shot, five killed, and a suspect was in custody after an incident at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida on Friday, according to Broward Sheriff’s office.
Sheriff Scott Israel says the gunman, who appeared to be a man in his 20s wearing a Star Wars T-shirt, was arrested unharmed, with no law enforcement officers firing any shots. He is being questioned by the FBI.
There is an ongoing incident in Terminal 2, Baggage Claim. Media availability is at the staging area.— Ft. Laude-Hlwd Int'l (@FLLFlyer) January 6, 2017
A spokesperson for the airport could not immediately be reached for comment.
The airport has been closed for an extended period of time, says the airport’s Twitter feed.
News helicopters hovering over the scene show hundreds of people standing on the tarmac as an ambulance drives by and numerous law enforcement officers rush to the scene.
Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer who is present at the airport tweets:
I'm at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. Shots have been fired. Everyone is running.— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) January 6, 2017
The police said there is one shooter and five victims.— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) January 6, 2017
All seems calm now but the police aren't letting anyone out of the airport - at least not the area where I am.— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) January 6, 2017
(With inputs from Reuters and AP)