Friday, January 6, 2017

5 Killed, 8 Injured As Gunman Storms Florida Airport: Shooter In A Star Wars Shirt Opened Fire In Fort Lauderdale Baggage Claim Aiming For Victims' Heads

Five people are dead and at least eight people injured after a shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport.

The incident happened around 1pm at the lower level baggage claim area of Terminal 2.

The gunman - wearing a Star Wars t-shirt - was taken into custody and has since been identified as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago.

Santiago reportedly flew into the airport from Canada, and checked a gun for the flight. He then opened fired in the baggage area after loading his weapon in the bathroom, Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca said.

Santiago was from New Jersey but his most recent address was in Naples, Florida. He was a member of the U.S. Army National Guard, NBC News reports.

A picture shared on social media allegedly showed one of the people who was shot by a gunman

A shooting victim is taken into Broward Health Trauma Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

An injured woman is taken into Broward Health Trauma Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after a shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday

A shooting victim is seen in the back of an ambulance after arriving at the Broward Health Trauma Center on Friday

People were seen on the floor trying to comfort loved ones (left), while others appeared to be shielding others (right)

About 90 minutes after the shooting, chaos broke out again when police officers were seen rushing into the parking garage with their guns drawn while bystanders sought shelter behind vehicles.

But the Broward County Sheriff said at an afternoon press conference that the only shooting that happened was in Terminal 2 and that he currently believes only one gunman was involved.

Another witness told NBC Miami that the shooter was silent and didn't appear to be targeting anyone in particular - 'popping off bullets at random'.

John Schlicher, who told MSNBC he saw the attack, described the shooter as a 'slender man' who was 'directly firing at us' while passengers waited for their bags to come off the carousel.

In another interview with Fox News, Schlicher said that the shooter was aiming at people's heads.

'All the people seemed to be shot in the head,' Schlicher said. 'He was shooting people who were down on the ground too.'

The shooter reloaded once for a second burst of shooting, Schlicher said, but he could not say how many bullets were fired.

Shocking video has emerged from inside the terminal where a gunman opened fire on Friday

One woman walked towards the camera and said there had been bullets 'flying everywhere' during the shooting

Terrified people were seen running across the tarmac about 2:30pm - more than an hour after the shooting was reported

Mark Lea, a 53-year-old financian adviser from Minneapolis, says he was in baggage claim when the shooting started.

'I was dodging bullets and trying to help people get out of the way,' Lea said.

'At first we thought it was firecrackers,' he said. 'Everyone started screaming and running. The shooter made his way down through baggage claim. He had what looked like a 9mm and emptied his entire clip. People were trying to run.'

Donald Trump tweeted that he was monitoring the situation at the airport about an hour after it happened

Footage showed police officers in a stairwell as the airport remained a crime scene into the afternoon

A shooting has reportedly occurred at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport

A group of passengers is seen hiding behind a truck on the tarmac on the airport after being evacuated

Photo courtesy of Taylor Elenburg shows passengers gathering on the tarmac of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport in Florida after a gunman opened fire

Travelers and airport workers are evacuated out of the terminal after airport shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida

A heavily armored vehicle was seen parked across a road near the airport after the shooting

Police and other emergency services rushed to the scene in the minutes after the shooting took place

An aerial view taken on April 20, 2016 shows the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport in Florida, where a gunman opened fire on Friday

People who were evacuated onto the tarmac were put onto buses and moved. The airport has since been shut down.

The Florida attack was the latest in a series of mass shootings that have plagued the United States in recent years, some inspired by militants with an extreme view of Islam, others who are loners or mentally disturbed who have easy access to weapons under U.S. gun laws.

Video from the airport Friday afternoon showed hundreds of passengers corralled together on the tarmac with emergency vehicles parked outside the terminal with lights flashing.

Former White House press secretary to President George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer, was at the airport at the time of the shooting and tweeted about the chaos.

Just after 1pm, he wrote that 'shots have been fired. Everyone is running'.

A woman was seen being taken off the tarmac in a wheelchair. It is now known whether she had been shot

News cameras appeared to capture the moment one person was rushed into an ambulance

There was chaos on the tarmac after the shooting. Emergency vehicles can be seen at the far end of the runway

People are seen on the tarmac after the shooting, which reportedly saw at least one person killed

Pictured is the chaotic scene at the Fort Lauderdale Airport where nine people were shot on Friday.

Minutes later, he said police told him there was just one shooter. By 1:30pm, the scene had settled.

'All seems calm now but the police aren't letting anyone out of the airport - at least not the area where I am,' Fleischer wrote.

The airport is one of the top 25 busiest airports in the nation, and is located about 25 miles north of Miami.


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