Esteban Santiago ID’d as Suspect in Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport Shooting

By Jack Phillips, Epoch Times
January 6, 2017 3:44 pm Last Updated: January 6, 2017 7:37 pm

The gunman in the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting that left at least five people dead has been identified in media reports as Esteban Santiago.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson said Santiago, a member of the U.S. Army, is from New Jersey. His military ID and a handgun were found on his person following his arrest, Local10 reported.

Law enforcement fired no shots apparently fired no shots in attempts to apprehend the shooter, The Associated Press reported. He was unharmed.

He allegedly opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport baggage claim on Friday, killing at least five and wounding at least eight more.

Santiago landed at the airport after getting off a flight from Minneapolis, AP reported. Santiago checked a handgun into his luggage and got it as he was getting his bags in Terminal 2, a local official added. He then said Santiago loaded his firearm and opened fire.

He was taken alive into custody.

According to the Daily Beast, he lived in Anchorage, Alaska, from 2014 to 2016. He has a minor criminal record.

Mark Lea, a financial adviser from Minneapolis, witnessed the shooting, telling NBC that he was “dodging bullets and trying to help people get out of the way.”

“At first we thought it was firecrackers. Everyone started screaming and running. The shooter made his way down through baggage claim,” he told the broadcaster. “He had what looked like a 9mm and emptied his entire clip. People were trying to run.”

Armed police officers on the scene opened fire and took him into custody, Lea said.

Lea added: “It was absolutely surreal. People were scared and frantically running to avoid being shot. People were tripping over each other. They were trying to make a fast exit out of the door.”

Another witness added to MSNBC that the suspect was a “slender man” wearing a Star Wars T-shirt.

Sheriff Scott Israel told Local10 there is no second shooter. “At this point, there’s no second active shooter,” he clarified, adding that it’s too soon to tell if the shooting was an act of terrorism.

President-elect Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that he’s currently “monitoring the terrible situation in Florida” and had been speaking with Florida Gov. Rick Scott. President Barack Obama has also been briefed on the incident.

Gov. Scott is currently en route to the airport.

Former White House press secretary to ex-President George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer, was at the airport during the shooting and tweeted. “Shots have been fired. Everyone is running,” he wrote. “All seems calm now but the police aren’t letting anyone out of the airport – at least not the area where I am,” he added.