Exhausted and frustrated – thousands of passengers flooded the airport in Ft Lauderdale Florida Saturday trying to retrieve their suitcases and other personal items they left behind after a gunman opened fire in a baggage claim area a day earlier before he was apprehended.
CGTN’s Steve Mort reports from Fort Lauderdale.
Flights resume at Ft Lauderdale airport following deadly shootingExhausted and frustrated - thousands of passengers flooded the airport in Ft Lauderdale Florida Saturday trying to retrieve their suitcases and other personal items they left behind after a gunman opened fire in a baggage claim area a day earlier before he was apprehended. CGTN's Steve Mort reports from Fort Lauderdale.
Some flight operations have resumed, bringing a sense of normalcy — a far different picture from the chaotic scenes which saw many passengers running onto the airport tarmac and seeking cover wherever they could find it.
The suspect, Esteban Santiago, a 26-year-old Iraq war veteran, allegedly killed 5 people and injured 6 more when he opened fire with a gun that he’d had in his checked baggage.
Many of those injured during the rampage remain in serious condition.
“Individuals have been killed and some are fighting for their lives right here at hospitals in Broward County. Last night, I went to Broward Health Medical Center to visit some of the victims and their families. Some of the victims were still in surgery fighting for their life,” Florida Governor Rick Scott said.
Authorities are refusing to rule out a terrorist motive, and are investigating possible radicalization even though Santiago was never previously suspected of ties to extremists. He told the FBI in Alaska recently that his mind was being controlled by a U.S. intelligence agency which was ordering him to watch ISIL videos.
“Indications are that he came here to carry out this horrific attack. We have not identified any triggers that would have caused this attack. But again, it’s very early in the investigation. We’re pursuing all angles and what prompted him to carry out such a horrific attack,” FBI Special Agent in Charge George Piro said.
Santiago’s family said he “lost his mind” after returning from a deployment in Iraq between 2010 and 2011.
Authorities say he was recently discharged from the Alaska National Guard for performance issues.
Questions are being raised about how the suspect was able to own and check a firearm into his luggage given earlier red flags.
“Every indication is that he did follow TSA procedures in checking in the weapon,” Piro said.
This latest mass shooting took place in the same state as an ISIL-inspired massacre at a nightclub in Orlando last June.