Today, a shooter is reported to have opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, leaving five dead and at least eight others injured. According to various media outlets, the shooter has been taken into custody.
Broward County sheriff Scott Israel spoke at a news conference shortly after the attack and confirmed that the gunman was in custody and unharmed. He also added that the man was being interviewed by the F.B.I and county investigators. All of the injured parties had been transported to a local hospital.
Broward County authorities said that the shooting began outside of the terminal and continued into the baggage claim. Photos that were taken during the incident show at least two victims outside of the building. Graphic video footage also surfaced depicting a horrific scene of bloodied victims in the baggage claim.
Due to the incident, all services were canceled at all terminals of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
While it has been confirmed that the attack occurred in Terminal 2, no other details have surfaced. Terminal 2 is served by Delta Airlines and Air Canada. Around 2:26 p.m Eastern time shots were reported to have been fired in Terminal 1.
Mayor Sharief explained to MSNBC that there was not a second shooter, and that while police had investigated the reported shots in Terminal 1, that they had done so only to cover all grounds.
The sheriff stated that they were attempting to determine the exact motive of the gunman that they have identified as Esteban Santiago. According to Senator Bill Nelson of Florida Santiago was carrying a military ID.
When speaking with reporters Scott Israel stated that if any evidence was found of a connection between the incident and terrorism that it would be turned over to the FBI.
Federal law enforcement officials confirmed that Esteban was a passenger on a flight and was traveling with a checked gun in his baggage. They also stated that Santiago had picked up his bag and then took his gun into the bathroom to load it before he returned to the baggage claim area to begin firing at people.
Two federal officials also said that Santiago is a U.S citizen with ties to New Jersey.
Earlier reports had speculated that he had traveled to Florida from Canada, however, it was discovered that he had flown from Alaska to Florida with one stop in Minnesota.
“The suspect did not fly from Canada and was not on a Canadian flight,” Christine Constantin, a spokeswoman for the embassy, said in a statement. “We understand from officials he was on a flight originating in Anchorage, transiting through Minneapolis and landing in Ft. Lauderdale. There is no Canadian connection.”
Currently, while information continues to pour out through various sources, the shooter’s motive is unknown. As details continue to come to light we may begin to understand the true reasoning behind this terrible event. What can be said is that he obviously has military ties, and made his way into the airport legitimately in order to carry out his atrocious crimes.