A Florida airport reopens after being shut down following a fatal shooting that took place on Friday.
Fort Lauderdale International Airport reopened on Saturday after a shooting that killed 5 people, wounded 8 people and sent thousands of others scrambling to find safety.
The suspect was identified by police as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, an Iraq war veteran. Santiago is being questioned by the FBI regarding the shooting that caused the airport to shut down.
The Fort Lauderdale airport is a major gateway to the Caribbean and Latin America. The airport announced at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday that they were back open for normal business hours, but they did urge passengers to check with their airline first.
A witness to the shooting spoke out saying that the experience was “surreal.” John Schlicher said he was picking up his first bag when he “heard the first shot. As I did, the person right next to me fell to the ground… It was very surreal.” The shooter “was holding a handgun. He was firing into the crowd. Everyone was standing there waiting for the luggage,” said Schlicher.
Santiago had traveled from Alaska to Fort Lauderdale, the special agent in charge of Miami’s FBI field office, George Piro, said. “We’re looking at several investigative leads not only in Alaska but other states that we have determined that he’s either traveled to or has connections there,” Piro said.
The suspect had a gun inside of his checked bag. The suspect used this to open up a shooting rampage in the airport after declaring this weapon to authorities, said law enforcement sources.
Law enforcement officials were able to detain Santiago without firing any shots, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said.
Piro said that authorities are “looking at every angle, including the terrorism angle.”
Santiago has made earlier claims that the CIA was forcing him to watch Islamic State jihadist videos.
Santiago has made claims that he was being forced to fight for the Islamic State group and that the CIA was controlling his mind to make him watch IS videos, said several US outlets.
An aunt of Santiago, Maria Luisa Ruiz, said he was having mental issue after the birth of his baby boy.
“Like a month ago, it was like he lost his mind,” Ruiz said. “He said he saw things. My family and I are in shock right now… It’s sad but we have to confront the situation.”