Islam Newsroom - "Terrorism" or "Mentally Unstable"?
Ft. Lauderdale Florida: Man kills 5? Wounded 8?
But not a "terrorist"?
Because he's NOT A MUSLIM or RELATED TO MUSLIM ORGANIZATION?
Read . . .
Fort Lauderdale Shooting: Five Killed at Airport Shooting, Gunman ID'd as Esteban Santiago
A lone shooter opened fire Friday afternoon at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, killing five people and wounding eight others before he was taken into custody, the Broward County sheriff said.
The suspected gunman appeared to be shooting randomly into a crowd in a lower floor of Terminal 2 as panicked travelers took cover behind chairs — and he only stopped when his bullets ran out, according to witnesses.
Multiple senior law enforcement sources identified the suspect as New Jersey born Esteban Santiago, 26, and said he had a military ID on him. The military said he had served in the Puerto Rico National Guard and was deployed to Iraq for 10 months.
"We still have people fighting for their lives in the hospital," Florida Gov. Rick Scott said.
Law enforcement officials told NBC News they believe Santiago flew Delta from Anchorage, Alaska and caught a connecting Delta flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Fort Lauderdale, where he picked up his firearm at baggage claim and began the shooting spree. Federal guidelines allow for passengers to check unloaded guns in a locked case, and also allows for ammunition to be placed in checked baggage.
The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport, located about 25 miles north of Miami, tweeted the shooting occurred at a baggage claim inside Terminal 2 around 12:55 p.m. ET.
"At first we thought it was firecrackers," said witness Mark Lea, 53. "Everyone started screaming and running."
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference the shooter was apprehended without incident, no law enforcement officers fired any shots. Federal authorities declined to give details about the shooter or his weapon, and said he was being interviewed to determine a motive.
Federal law enforcement officials told NBC News that Santiago was undergoing treatment for mental health problems, complaining that he was hearing voices.
In November, he walked into the FBI's office in Anchorage, claiming his mind was being controlled by a U.S. intelligence agency and that the CIA was making him watch ISIS videos, the officials said. Officials say local police were called, and he went voluntarily to a mental health facility for treatment.
In that incident Santago said he did not want to harm anyone, and the FBI closed its assesment after conductig checks and interviewing family members, the officials said.
Lea said the shooter made his way through baggage claim with what looked like a 9 mm firearm and emptied his entire magazine. "People were trying to run," he said.
"Once he finished shooting, he walked down by Door 2, threw his gun on the ground, and laid down on the ground, spread-eagle, until the first officer came — which was probably a minute later," Lea told MSNBC. "He was not shot at all, was not wounded."
A brother of the suspect, Bryan Santiago, told NBC News that Esteban grew up in Puerto Rico, where he served in the National Guard. He was deployed to Iraq for a year, moved to the Army Reserves and later moved to Alaska, where he served in the Alaska National Guard as a combat engineer. He was discharged in August 2016 for unsatisfactory performance, the Alaska National Guard said.
Esteban Santiago had a girlfriend and a child in Alaska, Bryan Santiago said, adding the girlfriend had told him that the couple had been fighting and that he'd received psychological counseling in Anchorage.
Bryan Santiago said he had not heard from his brother for several weeks, which he said was was unusual. His family was worried about him.
"He is a regular person, spiritual, a good person," the brother said.
Bryan Santiago said he could not imagine Esteban carrying out such an attack, and speculated that he might have had a "flashback" from his military experience, although said he said his brother had not been diagnosed with PTSD or other post-Iraq issues.
He said he has not heard from Esteban for several weeks, which is unusual, and that the family was worried about him.
"He is a regular person, spiritual, a good person," Bryan Santiago said.
Maria Luisa Ruiz, an aunt of Santiago's, said she last saw him after he returned from Iraq in 2011. She said he was in therapy in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
raveler John Schicher told MSNBC he had just arrived at the airport's baggage claim with his wife and mother-in-law when the gunman started firing just feet away from him.
"He was holding a black handgun and he was just shooting randomly into the crowd," Schicher, who said he was "in shock," told MSNBC. "There were elderly people who were shot and killed, there were two people to my left and two people to my right that were shot."
The gunman said nothing and didn't appear to be targeting anyone specifically, Schicher said, adding that the shooter had time to reload his gun before he was stopped by police.
"He walked over and he was right in our area, like within just feet of us, shooting people. I didn't know if I would be shot or if my wife or my mother-in-law would either," he said.
Schicher said he called 911 after the shots were fired, while his wife administered first aid to a man that had been shot in the head. His mother-in-law used her sweater to put pressure on another man's gunshot wound, but "he was gone already" by that point.
The shooter was wearing a blue "Star Wars" T-shirt, according to Schicher. He didn't get a good glimpse of the suspect.
"I put my head down and prayed," he said. "We stayed down."
President Barack Obama spoke by phone with Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief to express his wished to the families affected, and to pledge federal support during the investigation.
"The President, on behalf of the American people, extended his sincere condolences to the families and other loved ones of those killed and noted that his thoughts and prayers are with the wounded," National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price said.