Fort Lauderdale Shooting
January 24, 2017
After stepping off of his flight on Friday, January 6, 2017, and calmly approaching his desired baggage claim in the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, twenty-six year old Esteban Santiago picked up his single piece of checked luggage, removed a handgun from its case, and began rapidly firing the 9mm at other innocent travelers.
Five people were pronounced dead at the airport and six were wounded, promptly being sent to a local care facility. Forty more travelers were injured during the rushed airport evacuation, due to frantic persons shoving and all attempting to exit at once.
Esteban Santiago formally resigned in Alaska where he worked as a security guard. Santiago was a member of the Alaska Army National Guard for nearly nine years until he was discharged. In his time serving in the Guard, Santiago went on a 10-month tour to Afghanistan.
Upon returning, his family said he was not the same person. He had a different attitude and acted opposite of his former self. Within this time of him being a little off, losing contact with himself, the former-soldier visited the FBI voluntarily in Alaska where he was given a mental evaluation. He visited the FBI to inform them that he had been hearing voices directing him to do violent things with his gun. Following this, he voluntarily handed his gun over to the FBI. His gun was eventually returned to him nearly a month later.
Santiago now resides in prison in Florida being held without bail on two firearm related offenses and committing an act of violence in an international airport. These charges could easily lead to the death penalty. The drive behind the act of violence is still undeclared, but caseworkers expect to find out more answers as Santiago attends court hearings. Terrorism has yet to be ruled out and is being greatly considered as a reason for this incident.