Airport Shooter Was Allegedly Passenger Who Retrieved Gun from Checked Bag: Source
The suspected shooter in Friday’s attack in the Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport used a gun he retrieved from baggage he checked on an Delta flight to the airport, a federal law enforcement official tells PEOPLE.
The official identified the shooter as Esteban Santiago, 26. Santiago allegedly arrived in Ft. Lauderdale today on an inbound red-eye flight originating from Anchorage via Minneapolis, according to the official.
According to the official, the shooter arrived at 12:03 p.m. and picked up his checked bag. He then made his way into the bathroom, gathering his weapon and putting on a Star Wars t-shirt. He came out of the bathroom and began shooting people at the baggage carousel in the area of Terminal 2, the official says.
The shooter allegedly had a military ID on him when he was taken into police custody.
Sheriff Scott Israel said at a Friday press conference that five people were killed and eight people were injured in the shooting, which occurred just before 1 p.m. local time.
The suspect was apprehended by a Broward County sheriff’s deputy and taken into custody without incident, Sheriff Scott Israel said at a Friday press conference. The shooter surrendered when he ran out of ammunition, according to the federal law enforcement official who spoke to PEOPLE.
Israel added that the gunman, who wasn’t hit by gunfire, is being interviewed by FBI agents and Broward County sheriff’s deputies.
The shooting took place in Terminal 2 in the baggage claim area, outside the TSA checkpoint, police say. Air Canada and Delta Airlines operate out of Terminal 2.
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All services at the airport have been temporarily suspended, the airport tweeted. Authorities tell PEOPLE that the entire airport is on lockdown, which is standard procedure.
Agencies on the scene include Fort Lauderdale Police, Hollywood Police, Broward County Sheriff’s Office, the TSA, the ATF, and the FBI. The Florida Highway Patrol is directing traffic.
Stephanie Auclair, who was with her parents at the airport after a week’s vacation in Florida, tells PEOPLE, “When you see a bunch of people running toward you, screaming, ‘Shooter! Shooter,’ it stops your heart.”
She says she and her parents hid in the kitchen of an airport restaurant before being moved to a stairwell. “We tried using the tables in the restaurant as shields. We were not sure where to go or where he was coming from. We were not sure where to hide,” she says.
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She adds, “People left their stuff inside and just ran. It was a total panic. It was scary but now we’re safe. We are just waiting.”
Auclair says she got a first-hand look at the shooter being led by two security guards in handcuffs.
“The shooter was very skinny. He seemed to be very young… He was just letting himself be dragged by the police. It was scary,” she says.