Published on January 7, 2016
Yesterday, on January 6th, 2017, a man identified as Esteban Ruiz Santiago opened fire in the baggage claim area of terminal 2 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport, killing 5 people and wounding 8 others.
The 26-year-old Iraq war veteran flew from Alaska to Florida with a gun checked in his luggage. The federal law allows passengers to check unloaded guns in a locked compartment, including ammunition, in a checked bag. Firearms must be declared to the airline at check-in and cannot be taken on board as a carry-on. Santiago’s plane landed at 12:12 P.M. After picking up his bag at the baggage claim in terminal 2, Santiago reportedly took his luggage to the restroom, loaded his firearm, and proceeded to randomly shooting at the crowd at around 12:55 P.M, until he ran out of bullets.
Photo courtesy of the Broward Sheriff’s office.
People ran out to the tarmac. Once things calmed down, another threat appeared in the garage, and SWAT and police teams began running towards the garage with their weapons. People began running away from the garage. Meanwhile, Miami International airport security and SWAT team members were sent armed with machine guns to secure the area. The airport was completely shut down and flights originally set to land at FLL-Hollywood Int’l Airport were rerouted to land to other airports within a 50-mile radius.
FBI agents had airport occupants hide behind federal vehicles when another threat was detected in the garage outside of the terminal.
Five people were killed and eight others wounded. Some victims were shot in the head, killing them on the spot. Officials said Santiago had an argument with someone along his his layover stop in Minnesota.
Santiago’s brother, Bryan Santiago, stated his brother, Esteban, had been “fighting with a lot of people,” and stated, “Sometimes he’s good. Sometimes something weird… He had a woman there in Alaska, a child. He fight verbally too much with her. I can tell you he fight too much with everybody.” He also informed NBC that Esteban’s family had recently been notified by Alaska officials and Esteban’s girlfriends that he had received psychological counseling in Anchorage. Santiago had also reportedly been having mental issues, such as hearing voices.
“We have not talked for the past three weeks,” his brother said. “That’s a bit unusual… I’m in shock. He was a serious person… he was a normal person.”
In November, Esteban Santiago had walked into the FBI’s office in Anchorage, complaining that the CIA was forcing him to join ISIS, according to NBC. Another NBC source said he had been forced to watch ISIS videos by the CIA. He was then sent to a mental facility to receive treatment voluntarily.
Santiago enlisted in the Puerto Rico National Guard six years ago. “He was pro-America”, his brother said. Two years ago, he had moved to Alaska, where he worked as a security guard and lived with a woman and a child. He owned a handgun.
In the same month of last year, Santiago was charged with criminal mischief and a misdemeanor count of assault after breaking open a bathroom door, yelling and choking his girlfriend.
The exact reason why Santiago committed the crime is still unknown, The second threat in the garage is still under investigation. Refresh this page for updates.
Our thoughts and consolidations go out to the families of all victims and pray for recovery of the injured victims of this horrific incident.