At least five people have been confirmed dead with eight others injured on Friday (January 6) after a shooter at Fort Lauderdale International Airport opened fire.
A U.S. senator and numerous media outlets are reporting the suspected shooter to be 26-year-old Esteban Santiago. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson says a military ID was found on the gunman during his arrest but it took further confirmation to reveal the suspect’s actual identity, as they weren’t sure the ID was actually his.
It’s also been confirmed through law enforcement sources that Santiago was a member of the National Guard stationed in Alaska. The alleged gunman was reportedly a passenger on a Canadian flight with a checked gun. He then claimed his bag, took the gun out of it, went into a bathroom, loaded it and “came out shooting,” according to a statement Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca made on Facebook.
The initial call about the shooting came in to law enforcement at 12:55 p.m. EST. Authorities evacuated the airport and secured the area after the shooting. Santiago was taken into custody after giving up easily to police.
A year ago, a man matching Santiago’s description was charged for damaging property worth more than $50 and verbal assault in Anchorage. In March 2016, prosecutors dismissed both misdemeanor charges. However, according to court records, the case remains open.
Esteban Santiago was reportedly born in New Jersey and moved to Puerto Rico at a young age. As a member of the National Guard, Santiago relocated to Alaska two years ago.
See a picture of Esteban Santiago and video of the alleged 9 mm firearm used in the Fort Lauderdale attack below.
(Photo: AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)