This is a strange and horrific story. There is definitely something wrong with this guy. We will update you as we learn more.
Five people are dead and at least eight people injured after a shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport in Florida.
The incident happened around 1pm on Friday at the lower level baggage claim area of Terminal 2. The gunman – wearing a Star Wars T-shirt – was taken into custody and has since been identified as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago.
Santiago flew into the airport from Anchorage, Alaska (with a layover in Minneapolis, St. Paul) on Delta flight 2182, and checked a gun in his luggage for the flight.
After claiming his bag, he loaded the handgun in a bathroom and then opened fire in the baggage claim area, Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca said.
NBC News reports that Santiago had a history of mental problems.
Sources have told CBS news that Santiago walked into an FBI office in Anchorage in November last year claiming he was being forced to fight 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.
His most recent address was in Naples, but he lived in Anchorage from 2014 to 2016, where his girlfriend and child continue to live. He is also from New Jersey.
Santiago was an Iraq veteran having been deployed to the country for one year in April 2010. He received a general discharge for unsatisfactory performance in August last year, the Army Criminal Investigation Division confirmed. He had also been a combat engineer in the Alaska Army National Guard and prior to that was in the U.S. Army Reserve.
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 Sen. 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.