NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - A U.S. Army veteran opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida Friday, killing five people and wounding eight more, authorities said.
The Broward County Sheriff's Office tweeted at 1:43 p.m.: "Shooting at Fort Lauderdale -Hollywood International Airport with multiple people dead. One subject in custody." Then at 2:50 p.m., the Sheriff's Office tweeted: "Active search: Unconfirmed reports of addt'l shots fired on airport property." Sheriff Scott Israel later said no other shooting took place other than the original incident.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said the gunman was carrying a military ID with the name Esteban Santiago.
Military officials said that Santiago had served in the Puerto Rico Army National Guard, the Army Reserve, and most recently the Alaska Army Reserve until his general discharge four months ago. He had gone AWOL a few times and was demoted.
In November, Esteban told FBI agents in Alaska that the government was controlling his mind and was forcing him to watch Islamic State group videos, a law enforcement official said. Agents questioned him and then turned him over to police, who took him for a mental health evaluation, the AP reported.
A witness named John Schlicher told Fox News' Shepard Smith that a gunman wearing a Star Wars T-shirt fired several times from a handgun into a crowd at baggage check. Schlicher said he saw the gunman reload his weapon and fire again. While speaking via phone to Fox News, Schlicher said authorities told everyone in the terminal to get back on the floor because another possible danger. Live video from the airport showed dozens of people running for safety. Sheriff Israel said that commotion may have been sparked by someone getting hurt while trying to evacuate Terminal 1. He said officers took the suspect into custody "without incident."
Officials said the gunman flew into Fort Lauderdale from Anchorage with a pistol in his checked luggage. Upon retrieving his luggage, he loaded the gun in a bathroom and then opened fire on people in the baggage claim area, police said.
The Sheriff's Office confirmed that 13 people were shot. Five of them died.News stations showed video of medics taking care of a bleeding victim outside the airport. News helicopters hovering over the scene showed hundreds of people standing on the tarmac as an ambulance drove by and numerous law enforcement officers, including tactical units, rushed to the scene.
All flights into and out of the airport are being diverted.
Former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer tweeted that he was at the airport when shots were fired and "everyone is running."
With the Associated Press