Steve Frappier has his laptop to thank for being alive after the deadly shooting at Fort Lauderdale that killed five and injured eight people. Frappier was in the baggage claim area of the airport’s terminal when the gunman, Esteban Santiago, opened fire on Friday. His laptop was in his backpack when the shooting started and stopped the bullet, saving his life in the process.
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Frappier told CNN when the shooting started, he had just retrieved his bags from baggage claim and put his backpack on his back. “The backpack saved my life,” he said. After hearing gunfire, he dropped to the floor. Frappier said his backpack stayed on him as he was lying on the ground.
He stated, “I was on the ground like a tortoise with the backpack.” From Frappier’s account, the shooter shot in his direction and he felt something hit his back but he just thought it was luggage falling upon him since he was uninjured after checking himself out.
“It was only later when I went to the bathroom to check myself out that (I found) the bullet had entered my backpack, hit my laptop,” he said. “Later when I gave my bag to the FBI for investigation, they found the bullet in the pocket of my backpack.”
The gunman, Esteban Santiago, was a 26-year-old Iraq veteran who flew into the airport from Anchorage, Alaska (with a layover in Minneapolis, St. Paul) on Delta flight 2182. His only checked bag was a firearm. Santiago was stoic in his demeanor as he shot into the crowded terminal.
According to MSNBC, Santiago was “quiet the whole time.” There is still the question of motive. Was this a terror attack? Or something else? One possibility that some experts have suggested is a mental health issue after reports indicated that Santiago and his family have a history of mental illness.
The gunman is in custody and unharmed.