FLORIDA SHOOTING: Airport gunman kills ‘multiple people’

A GUNMAN opened fire inside the baggage cliam area at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, killing five people and injuring as many as eight.

The shooter is now in custody.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson identified the shooter as Esteban Santiago.

"He had a military ID, we don't know if it is current, but every time you get a bunch of people like at baggage claim or like outside of TSA (Transportation Security Administration) where you're going to security or lines at the ticket counter, it's a soft target," Nelson told CNN.

A county official said the Fort Lauderdale airport shooter pulled a checked gun out of a bag, loaded the gun in a bathroom and came out shooting.

The incident happened around 1:15pm (5:15am AEDT).

Sheriff Scott Israel said the scene was "fluid and active" although the shooter had been arrested.

Despite reports of gunshots being heard at Terminal 1, Sheriff Israel said there was no confirmation of any gunshots except downstairs at Terminal 2 where the shooting took place.

"At this point it looks like he acted alone," he said.

The shooter was arrested without incident by a Broward Sherrif Deputy. He is uninjured.


Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport director Mark Gale said it was unclear when the airport would re-open.

Although authorities have said the shooter was arrested, there appears to be panic and confusion among passengers. Live footage on CNN shows people running through the airport and hiding behind cars.

The shooting happened near the baggage claim area inside Terminal 2, which serves Delta Air Lines and Air Canada.

The motive for the attack is not yet known.

If it becomes apparent the incident was terrorist related, the investigation will be turned over to the FBI.

The suspect had been on a Canadian flight.

Witness John Schlicher told Fox News that as he retrieved his baggage, "I heard the first shot. As I did, the person right next to me fell to the ground... It was very surreal."

The shooter "was holding a handgun. He was firing into the crowd.

Everyone was standing there waiting for the luggage," he said.

Several passengers were huddled inside a supply closet at the airport, while awaiting the all-clear.

"We were all here in Terminal 2 at Delta when the shooting started," one of them, identified only as Duane, told CNN by telephone.

"Everybody just scattered. It was mass hysteria," he said.


One of the victims was shot in the head, according to a Sun Sentinel reporter.

Television footage showed passengers running to safety, and others gathered on the tarmac.

Twitter users reported being returned to planes amid the chaos.

Flordia Governor Rick Scott was briefed on the shooting at the airport.

Ex-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer tweeted from the scene.

Another user tweeted out a grisly image that appeared to show a man bleeding on the sidewalk outside the terminal.

Fort Lauderdale is a major tourist hub and beach resort in the greater Miami area.

The airport is one of the top 25 busiest airports in the US.

US President-elect Donald Trump Tweeted that he was monitoring the situation.

Vice-President-elect Mike Pence Tweeted that "our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and our first reponsders in For Lauderdale."

Florida Senator Marco Rubio was among the first to Tweet their condolences.

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE SUSPECT

The shooter was identified as Esteban Santiago, 26, and had a US military identification, according to a spokesman for US Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, who spoke with officials at the Transportation Security Administration.

Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead said Esteban received a general discharge from the Alaska Army National Guard last year for unsatisfactory performance.

Olmstead said that he joined the Guard in November 2014.

Puerto Rico National Guard spokesman Maj. Paul Dahlen said that Santiago was deployed to Iraq in 2010 and spent a year there with the 130th Engineer Battalion, the 1013th engineer company out of Aguadilla.

Olmstead also said that Santiago had served in the Army Reserves prior to joining the Alaska Army National Guard.

His brother Bryan told NBC that he had been receiving pschological treatment in Alaska, where he had been living.

Esteban had been working as a security guard in Alaska where he also had a girlfriend and child.

"He was pro-America," Bryan told NBC.

He described his brother as "a regular person, spiritual, a good person" but he had been "fighting with a lot of people" during his time in Alaska.

The shooter, who wore a Star Wars T-shirt, said nothing as he fired, witnesses told MSNBC.

He appeared to use a 9mm handgun, which he tossed aside upon running out of ammunition, surrendering to police, MSNBC reported.

The shooter was arrested without incident by a Broward Sherrif Deputy. He is uninjured.

The motive for the attack is not yet known.

If it becomes apparent the incident was terrorist related, the investigation will be turned over to the FBI.
Santiago had travelled from Anchorage, Alaska, and had transited through Minneapolis.


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