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Feds filed charges against Florida gunman for airport shooting

Florida airport shooting

Este­ban San­ti­a­go, 26, was arrest­ed for killing five and injur­ing six when he opened fire inside the Fort Laud­erdale air­port Fri­day. (Pho­to: Broward Coun­ty Sheriff’s Office)

The man accused of killing five and injur­ing six at a Fort Laud­erdale air­port Fri­day after­noon will appear at a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing in fed­er­al court Mon­day.

Este­ban San­ti­a­go, 26, has been charged with per­form­ing an act of vio­lence against a per­son at an air­port serv­ing inter­na­tion­al civ­il avi­a­tion that caused seri­ous bod­i­ly injury, using and car­ry­ing a firearm dur­ing and in rela­tion to a crime of vio­lence, and caus­ing the death of a per­son through the use of a firearm. If con­vict­ed, he could face the death penal­ty.

Accord­ing to a court doc­u­ments, San­ti­a­go entered Ter­mi­nal 2 bag­gage claim area at Fort Laud­erdale-Hol­ly­wood Inter­na­tion­al Air­port just before 1 p.m. and opened fire on unsus­pect­ing trav­el­ers using a hand­gun he retrieved from pre­vi­ous­ly checked bag­gage. Author­i­ties said San­ti­a­go aimed for the heads of the vic­tims and con­tin­ued to fire until he was out of ammo.

Five peo­ple were killed and six were wound­ed. About three dozen oth­ers suf­fered minor injuries, such as injuries from falls, chest pains, and anx­i­ety, accord­ing to a state­ment by the Broward Coun­ty Sheriff’s Office.

Moments after the shoot­ing start­ed, a Broward Sheriff’s deputy con­front­ed San­ti­a­go, who then dropped his gun and was sub­se­quent­ly tak­en into cus­tody. Inves­ti­ga­tors think San­ti­a­go act­ed alone and cur­rent­ly have no rea­son to believe oth­er­wise.

George L. Piro, Spe­cial Agent in Charge, FBI Mia­mi, called the act a “heinous crime” and ensured the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims that author­i­ties are “work­ing tire­less­ly … to ensure jus­tice is served.”

Author­i­ties have not yet released a pos­si­ble motive for the shoot­ing.

San­ti­a­go is a U.S. mil­i­tary vet­er­an who served as a com­bat engi­neer for the Nation­al Guard in Puer­to Rico and Alas­ka, but was dis­charged last year for unsat­is­fac­to­ry per­for­mance, NPR report­ed. His infrac­tions includ­ed mul­ti­ple unau­tho­rized leaves of absence.

San­ti­a­go com­plet­ed a deploy­ment to Iraq near­ly six years ago, but his fam­i­ly says he returned a changed man, haunt­ed by what he wit­nessed, includ­ing the killing of chil­dren.

His mind was not right,” Maria Ruiz Rivera, Santiago’s aunt, told CNN in a phone inter­view. ”He seemed nor­mal at times, but oth­er times he seemed lost. He changed.”

Like­wise, Santiago’s broth­er, Bryan, said he heard voic­es and asked for help, but did not receive ade­quate treat­ment. Bryan said his broth­er was hos­pi­tal­ized but sent home four days lat­er.

How are you going to let some­one leave a psy­cho­log­i­cal cen­ter after four days when he is say­ing that he is hear­ing voic­es?” Bryan ques­tioned.
Feds filed charges against Flori­da gun­man for air­port shoot­ing
Feds filed charges against Flori­da gun­man for air­port shoot­ing

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