In the immediate aftermath of events like the shooting in Fort Lauderdale’s airport yesterday, victims often seem like random numbers. 5 dead. 13 wounded. Yet there’s a human element behind each digit. The holes rent in peoples lives are hard for most of us to empathize with, but knowing their names helps to humanize them. They’re more than victims. They deserve to be remembered.
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FBI agent George L. Piro, head of the FBI Miami field office, has not released the identities of all of the victims to the press. Their names are being mentioned on social media. But he is talking about the shooter. “The suspect did cooperate with the interview team, which was a joint combined FBI-Broward Sheriff’s Office,” Piro said. “The interview went over several hours and concluded sometime this morning.”
“We have not identified any triggers that would have caused this attack,” Piro said. “We’re pursuing all angles on what prompted him to carry out this horrific attack.”
Esteban Santiago’s mother is now speaking about her son’s traumatic past. He witnessed an explosion in Iraq when he was just 18 that killed two of his friends. His motivation for flying to Florida are still unknown, though many are speculating that he traveled this incredible distance from Alaska just to commit this act.
Others are attributing his act of violence to an argument he may have had on board the plane. This would mean the shooting wasn’t premeditated.
Either way, there are 5 people who died.
Olga Woltering, a retiree from Georgia, is one the known fatalities.
Terry Andres, 62, was a volunteer firefighter from Virginia, was also killed. He was arriving in Fort Lauderdale with his wife for vacation.
Michael Oehme, of Iowa, was about to board a cruise with his wife, Kari Oehme. Michael was killed. Kari was shot in the shoulder.
Other victims will be named as their family members choose to release the information. Their lives, so tragically cut short, will be remembered. And the acts of heroism from those in the airport who administered aid to the wounded should be celebrated.