The gunman, who has now been identified as 26-year-old Estaban Santiago, didn’t say anything as he shot into a crowd of people waiting for their baggage at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday. According to eyewitnesses, the gunman was stoic and silent as he began his violent rampage that killed 5 and injured 8 people.
MSNBC initially reported that the gunman was shot as he was trying to reload, but now, new reports indicate that the gunman had flown in on a Canadian flight that originated in Alaska with the firearm the was checked in his luggage. The gunman then retrieved his firearm from his bag, loaded it, and began firing a reported 13 rounds.
According to eyewitnesses, Santiago was stoic as he was firing at the patrons of the airport. Others said he said nothing and appeared to be in his 20’s, wearing a “Star Wars t-shirt.”
Witnesses say that Santiago entered the bathroom with his bags, and returned with the loaded gun. After his shooting rampage, Santiago reportedly sprawled face down on the floor and waited for law enforcement to apprehend him.
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida commented on the details that were given to him, stating Santiago did indeed have a military ID. Dozens of police sprinted back and forth with automatic weapons drawn, directing a large group of travelers. Multiple reports suggest Santiago lives in Anchorage, AK.
A Reuters article reported that at the exact time the gunman was being taken into custody, police officers screamed “Get down, get down!” from a parking garage across the street from the airport terminal. These secondary scares all appear to have been over-reactions to false rumors.
John Schlicher, who told MSNBC he saw the attack, described the shooter as a “slender man” who was “directly firing at us.” Schlicher added, “I put my head down and prayed,” as his wife gave first aid to someone who had been shot in the head. His mother-in-law used her sweater to tend to another victim, but it turned out that person was already dead, he said.
Another eyewitness, Mark Lea, said, “there was no rhyme or reason to it.” He explained, “He didn’t say anything, he was quiet the whole time, he didn’t yell anything.”
Reports from various outlets are conflicting at this time. Air traffic has been suspended and diverted for the safety of others.