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Fort Lauderdale airport shooting: 5 dead, suspect had gun in bag

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.– Five people were shot dead and eight wounded in a baggage claim area at Fort Lauderdale’s airport, and law enforcement sources tell CNN the suspect, identified as Esteban Santiago, had brought the firearm in his checked luggage.

Authorities said it was too early to understand why the suspect, who was taken into custody without incident, opened fire at the Florida airport.

Esteban Santiago (Photo courtesy of CNN)

Esteban Santiago (Photo courtesy of CNN)

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson told CNN that Santiago had a military identification card, but he did not know whether it was current.

Here’s the latest on what we know:

• Thirteen people were shot and eight were taken to hospitals, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said. Five others died from their wounds.

• The suspect joined the National Guard in Puerto Rico in 2007. In April 2010, he went to Iraq for 10 months. A spokeswoman for the Alaska Army National Guard said Santiago was in the Army Reserves before he joined the guard there in November 2014. Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead said Santiago was discharged in August for unsatisfactory performance.

• The suspect showed up several months ago at the FBI office in Anchorage, law enforcement officials told CNN. He was interviewed and said he was hearing voices in his head, including some telling him to join ISIS. He was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation, the officials said. He voluntarily checked himself in, the officials explained.

• Law enforcement sources told CNN that the suspect flew to Florida on Friday from Alaska and had declared the firearm. When he arrived at the airport, the suspect retrieved a bag at baggage claim, took out the gun and started firing, the sources said. One source said he went to the bathroom to get the gun out of his luggage and emerged firing.

• Israel said the gunman likely acted alone. The sheriff said it was too early to say whether terrorism was the motive.

• Gov. Rick Scott told reporters at the airport: “The citizens of Florida will not tolerate senseless acts of evil. Whoever is responsible will held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.” The governor said that now was time to mourn the dead and pray for hospitalized victims, not talk about gun laws.

• Multiple reports on social media — including tweets from former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer — described the shooting.

• Gene Messina told CNN he’d arrived at the airport as people were being evacuated from the terminal. “I got off the plane and I saw people running and screaming,” he said. “At first I was in shock but when I saw TSA agents running, I booked.”

• The incident occurred in the baggage claim area of Terminal 2, officials said. There are four terminals at the airport, which ranks 21st in the US in terms of total passengers.

• Parts of the airport were evacuated. Aerial footage from CNN affiliates showed large groups of people standing outside on the tarmac.

• More than an hour after the shooting, tensions were still running high, a witness told CNN. “Everyone sprinted outside again. We are back out on the tarmac,” Judah Fernandez said, adding that it was unclear why people had rushed outside.

• The first call about the shooting came in at 12:55 p.m. ET.

• Most flights scheduled to land at the airport will be delayed or diverted, the FAA said. The airport had not resumed operations by 6 p.m ET.

• In November 2016, nearly 2.5 million travelers passed through Fort Lauderdale’s airport, according to a government report on the facility.

• Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport serves about 30 airlines. Many passengers use it because of its convenience to nearby cruise ship terminals.

Greenwood, Indiana native Corbin Bare was at the airport dropping his friend off less than 20 minutes after the shootings occurred. He sent FOX59 this video.