Video released from inside Fort Lauderdale airport baggage claim area pic.twitter.com/QVfWnhhNiE
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) January 6, 2017
A gunman opened fire at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida Friday, Jan. 6, killing five people and injuring eight others.
Around 1 p.m., shots broke out near the baggage claim inside Terminal 2, according to NBC Maimi, and passengers evacuated the airport and fled to the tarmac by 1:15 p.m.
At this time, no one is allowed to leave the airport as local authorities continue to manage the situation. Broward County’s Sheriff said there was only one suspect responsible for the shooting.
Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, who was at the airport, was one of the first to report the incident as it happened.
I'm at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. Shots have been fired. Everyone is running.
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) January 6, 2017
As of this report, Fort Lauderdale Airport officials have suspended all flights and have diverted traffic away for the airport. Those injured were taken to a local hospital.
The suspect, identified as New Jersey man Esteban Santiago-Ruiz, was apprehended around 3 p.m. by authorities and is now being questioned by the FBI.
— Ft. Laude-Hlwd Int'l (@FLLFlyer) January 6, 2017
Authorities believe the shooter flew Delta from Anchorage, Alaska and took a connecting Delta flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul which eventually took him to Fort Lauderdale. From there the 26-year-old former military officer picked up his firearm from baggage claim and began firing, reported NBC News.
Santiago-Ruiz relocated to Alaska after being deployed to Iraq for a year. Family members told media that he changed after his stint in the war-torn nation. However, as of August 2016, he served as a combat engineer in the Alaska National Guard before being discharged for poor performance.
The suspect was reportedly suffering from mental issues prior to Friday’s shooting. Federal law enforcement told media that the shooter was currently undergoing mental health treatment because he claimed he heard voices.
In one mental episode months ago, Santiago-Ruiz went into the FBI office in Anchorage and told officials the U.S. government wanted him to join ISIL.