Man Who Allegedly Opened Fire at Florida Airport Is Federally Charged, Says He Planned Attack: Police
Police have still not identified the cause of the attack.
Esteban Santiago, an Iraq war veteran who allegedly opened fire at a Ft. Lauderdale airport on Friday — killing five people and wounding eight others — has been federally charged.
Santiago was charged Saturday with an act of violence at an international airport resulting in death, which carries a maximum punishment of execution, as well as weapons charges.
According to court documents, Santiago confessed to the FBI that he planned the attack.
After picking the luggage up at the Terminal 2 baggage claim, he went into the bathroom, loaded the weapon and then opened fire, according to police.
“Indications are that he came here to carry out this horrific attack,” “FBI Agent George Piro said. “We have not identified any triggers that would have caused this attack. We’re pursuing all angles on what prompted him to carry out this horrific attack.”
Santiago, who was born in New Jersey, reportedly signed up to serve the National Guard in August 2016 and had been living in Alaska, according to reports.
Santiago had served a tour of duty in Iraq, after which he was never the same, his aunt told NJ.com.
"He lost his mind," Maria Ruiz Rivera said in Spanish, adding that she as well as relatives in Florida were contacted by law enforcement officials Friday afternoon.
In November, Santiago reportedly walked into an FBI field office in Alaska and said the U.S. government was controlling his mind and forcing him to watch ISIS videos. He also reportedly told officers he didn’t want to hurt anyone.
He was then sent to a mental health facility after police confiscated his firearm, according to reports.
According to CNN, the police gave back the firearm, the gun cops said he would use in the attack, a month later.
Santiago's brother, Bryan Santiago, spoke out in an interview saying, "The FBI failed there," Bryan told The Associated Press. "We're not talking about someone who emerged from anonymity to do something like this."
The airport reopened before dawn Saturday; Terminal 2, however, has only partially reopened.
It remained closed for takeoffs, landings and baggage claim, but the upper level is open for Delta and Air Canada ticketing, Broward County officials said.
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