Suspected gunman Esteban Santiago has reportedly been charged with three federal crimes for the shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Jan. 6 that killed five and injured eight. What possible sentencing does he face if found guilty?
Federal prosecutors reportedly charged Esteban Santiago, 26, with three federal crimes on Jan. 7. He faces two firearms offenses, and committing an act of violence at an international airport: a crime that could carry the death penalty, according to ABC News. If he’s found guilty, he will face sentencing for the deaths of five innocent people, and critical injury of eight more, after he went on a violent shooting rampage at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. If convicted, he could also face life in federal prison.
Esteban’s next court date is set for Jan. 9, at 11 a.m. in Fort Lauderdale’s federal court. The shooter at Fort Lauderdale airport on Jan. 6, allegedly Esteban, had a military ID on him, according to MSNBC, and had flown in on a Canadian airline. The gun was checked in his luggage, and after retrieving it from the baggage carousel, he went in a bathroom to load the weapon.
After the gunman shot people in the lower level baggage claim area of Terminal 2, the terminal was immediately evacuated, according to multiple outlets, and authorities took the suspect into custody; he was then interviewed by the FBI. No motivation for the shooting is known at this point.
“I got off the plane and I saw people running and screaming,” a witness told CNN. “At first I was in shock but when I saw TSA agents running, I booked it.” One witness described the scene, saying that it “looked like a war zone.” So frightening. Other passengers and witnesses took to social media to share what they saw. “Shots have been fired. Everyone is running,” former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer also tweeted.
Esteban has allegedly been suffering from mental health issues, and was hospitalized just a few weeks before the shooting, according to his aunt, Maria Ruiz. Maria told NorthJersey.com that Esteban was “seeing things” and “it was like he lost his mind.” Esteban’s brother, Bryan Santiago believed Esteban may have suffered a flashback from his time fighting in Iraq. Esteban has never been diagnosed with PTSD, according to NBC.
HollywoodLifers, are you shocked that Esteban was charged with federal crimes? Tell us in the comments.