Another heartbreaking tragedy has struck Florida, as a gunman opened fire inside the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Jan. 6. Authorities have taken the alleged shooter into custody, but not before 5 people were killed and 8 others injured.
The story is developing but what is known about the deadly attack is this: a gunman opened fire in the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Jan. 6. The facility tweeted there was an “ongoing incident in Terminal 2, Baggage Claim.” Initial reports claimed that one person was killed (with 9 people injured) the Broward Sherriff’s Office confirmed that “multiple people [were] dead” from this attack.
3:41 PM EST: The shooter was allegedly flying on a Canadian flight and had a checked gun in his baggage. The Broward County Commissioner said, via Reuters, that he claimed his bag and entered a bathroom in order to load the gun before firing shots.
3:33 PM EST: Sheriff Scott Israel has confirmed that the shooting happened downstairs in Terminal 2 and that no second shooting has been confirmed in Terminal 1. The police are not releasing any other information about the shooter at this time, but he is currently in custody and is being interviewed by the FBI.
2:52 PM EST: An active search is underway following reports of more gunshots and a second shooter.
2:45 PM EST: The shooter has allegedly been named as Esteban Santiago, 26, according to Senator Bill Nelson of Florida. He told MSBNC that Santiago was reportedly carrying a handgun and military ID when he shot people in the baggage claim.
2:35 PM EST: People appear to be moving for cover as seen in CNN footage, and there are rumors of screams heard and a possible second shooter.
At the time of the shooting, the terminal was evacuated and authorities were able to take the alleged attacker into custody, according to the New York Post. One of the victims was reportedly shot in the head and a Twitter user, who claims to have witnessed the attack, said a victim was “bleeding profusely.” They also tweeted a (WARNING) graphic picture of someone bleeding on the sidewalk outside of the airport. “Supposedly others are shot on the lower level at Delta Term 2.”
With the alleged gunman in custody, authorities will not piece together a motive or if the suspect is possibly tied to a greater plot. “You’re trying to understand, is this a one-off guy?” Jim Cavenaugh told MSNBC. “Regardless of motive, is he alone, or is there something else? We hate to think that way, but that’s the requirement for police commanders — to think that way.”
“I got off the plane and I saw people running and screaming,” Gene Messina told CNN after he got off Delta Flight 2012. “At first I was in shock but when I saw TSA agents running, I booked.”
An eyewitness account was provided, by all people, ex-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer. The 56-year-old former member of the George W. Bush administration was on hand in Ft. Lauderdale, and he tweeted updates from the scene. “Shots have been fired,” he told his followers at 12:57 PM ET. “Everyone is running.”
How horrifying! “The police said there is one shooter and five injured,” Ari tweeted at 1:03 PM ET, six minutes after his initial tweet. He followed it up with some good news, saying that “all seems calm.” He confirmed that the authorities have arrived and weren’t allowing anyone out of the airport – “at least not the area where I am.”
This story is ongoing, HollywoodLifers. We’ll update this story with any new information. In the meantime, our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims of this shooting.