5 Shot Dead at Fort Lauderdale Airport
Five people are dead and at least eight people injured after a shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport in Florida.
Gunman Esteban Santiago - an Iraq war veteran - was taken into custody after he opened fire in the lower level baggage claim area in Terminal 2 on Friday about 1pm.
Santiago flew into the airport from Anchorage, Alaska (with a layover in Minneapolis, St. Paul) on Delta flight 2182 - a firearm was his only piece of checked luggage.
The 26-year-old, who was dressed in a Star Wars t-shirt, claimed his bag, went to the bathroom to load his handgun and then started shooting people dead.
Santiago had a history of mental problems, according to NBC News.
Sources have told CBS news that Santiago walked into an FBI office in Anchorage in November last year claiming the government was trying to control his mind and he was being forced to watch videos for ISIS. After that incident, Santiago started getting treatment for his mental health issues.
He was also contacted by the FBI after an employer back in Alaska raised concerns about certain things he had said, according to ABC News.
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.
A private first class and combat engineer, he received half a dozen medals before receiving a general discharge for unsatisfactory performance in August last year.
His aunt Maria Ruiz told NorthJersey.com that Santiago had returned from Iraq acting strangely but had seemed happy after the birth of his child in September last year.
But she said something happened to him about a month ago and he was hospitalized for two weeks. She did not have details of his condition.
'Like a month ago, it was like he lost his mind. He said he saw things,' she said.
Santiago's brother Bryan Santiago said he could have suffered a 'flashback' from his time in Iraq, despite never being diagnosed with PTSD, NBC reports.
The motive for the shooting is still not known, but Florida Senator Marco Rubio told CNN that Santiago may have gotten into an altercation on his flight earlier that morning.
'I know that was mentioned as a potential cause and they wanted to kind of look into that a little further and get to that point,' Rubio said.
Santiago's brother said he had been fighting with people back in Alaska, including his girlfriend who he was having relationship issues with.
He said Santiago, who was 'was pro-America', has not spoken to his family for several weeks, which was unusual.
The gunman was born in New Jersey but moved to Puerto Rico where his mother and brother still live. He came back to Puerto Rico after serving in Iraq, before moving to Alaska. He lived there from 2014 to 2016 and his girlfriend and child are still there. His most recent address was in Naples, Florida.
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