Esteban Santiago, 26, of Anchorage, Alaska, has been identified as the gunman who opened fire at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday.
Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca wrote on Facebook that Santiago landed at the airport after a flight. Santiago checked a handgun in his luggage and retrieved it at the Terminal 2 baggage claim, LaMaca wrote, adding that he loaded the gun in a bathroom then came out and opened fire. NBC News, citing law enforcement officials, confirmed LaMarca’s story.
Santiago was taken alive into custody. Five people were killed and eight people were wounded by Santiago, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Department.
Santiago was born in New Jersey, according to NBC News, and was a member of the U.S. Army National Guard. ABC News reports Santiago joined the National Guard in early 2016 and was honorably discharged approximately four months ago.
Santiago had lived in Anchorage since 2014, according to Alaskan court records. Those records show a criminal record there for minor traffic infractions including operating a vehicle without insurance and a broken taillight. Records also show his landlord evicted him for non-payment of rent in February 2015.
In January 2016, Santiago was charged with two misdemeanor crimes: one count of fourth-degree assault and another for damage of property over $50. According to a spokesperson from the Anchorage Police department the incident was related to domestic violence.
The case was resolved in March when Santiago entered into a deferred prosecution agreement, an alternative to adjudication where a state prosecutor dismissed the charges in exchange for Esteban’s completion of requirements that are unknown.
Multiple Dead in Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting
Witnesses described a chaotic scene, as a shooter armed with a handgun killed at least five people and injured eight on Friday afternoon.
01.06.17 12:15 PM ET
A lone gunman opened fire at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday afternoon, killing five people and injuring eight others, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. Law enforcement has said the gunman is in custody. The shooting occured at about 1 p.m. in the baggage claim area of Terminal 2. The FAA ordered a ground stop to all flights from the airport. The airport was also evacuated and is now closed.
"All of a sudden I heard screaming and running, people coming from security, yelling 'He has a gun, he has a gun!,'" said Gene Messina, who was reportedly at the airport to pick up his friends.
Sen. Bill Nelson told reporters on Friday that the alleged shooter was identified as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago. According to Nelson, Santiago has a military ID and was armed with a handgun. He flew in on Delta Airlines.
Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca posted on Facebook that Santiago was a passenger on a flight with a checked gun. "He claimed his bag and took the gun from baggage and went into the bathroom to load it," LaMarca wrote. "Came out shooting people in baggage claim."
"He was holding a black handgun and he was just shooting randomly into the crowd," witness John Schicher told MSNBC. "There were elderly people who were shot and killed, there were two people to my left and two people to my right that were shot."
NBC News reports that two eyewitnesses said a young man opened fire with a handgun. He apparently ran out of bullets, then laid down and waited for police to come.
Cops, Civilians hiding under concrete stairs of Hibiscus garage @FLLFlyer as LEOs search airport shut down photo Carline Jean pic.twitter.com/WiZMm80n9g
— Linda Trischitta (@LindaTrischitta) January 6, 2017
Witness John Schilcher told reporters that "the firing just went on and on."
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said in 3:30 p.m. press conference that Santiago is unharmed and that law enforcement officials fired no shots during his arrest. Israel said he believes it is too soon in the investigation to determine whether terrorism is a factor in Friday's attack.
The Army National Guard told ABC News that Santiago was honorably discharged four months ago. His last post was in Ft. Greely, Alaska.
National Security Council Spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that President Obama is aware of the situation. “The President was apprised this afternoon by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco of the shooting at Fort Lauderdale airport and will be kept updated as the investigation unfolds,” he said.
In a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration said airborne flights within about 50 miles of the airport will be landing but that any other flights will be delayed or diverted to other locations. “Travelers headed to FLL should check with their air carriers,” the statement said.
The airport saw nearly 27 million passengers in 2015. The airport handles 650 commercial flights per day.
I just posted events will continue and get worse well this is more of that.
The video short, a guy sort of new like this older man.