In the wake of the shooting at an airport in Fort Lauderdale, more information is being released about the shooter. Esteban Santiago is now in custody, after killing several people in baggage claim and injuring others.
It is now known that Santiago told FBI officials in Alaska that his mind was being controlled by US Intelligence. His mental state was concerning enough to officials at that time that his firearm was removed and a mental health evaluation was ordered. Though officials took the correct steps, it wasn’t enough to have the man declared mentally unfit and unable to carry a weapon.
Santiago’s gun was retrieved just a month later, and he used that weapon to shoot 11 people at a Fort Lauderdale airport. According to Tom Fuentes, former FBI assistant director, “He hadn’t been adjudicated a felon and he hadn’t been adjudicated mentally ill. So again, you know we have this situation where he slipped through the cracks.”
Santiago is a 26-year-old man living in Alaska and stands accused of killing five people and injuring more at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. He now faces felony charges that carry the possibility of the death penalty. He was charged with causing serious bodily injury to someone at an international airport, causing the death of a person through the use of a firearm, and using a firearm during and in relation to a violent crime.
According to federal prosecutors, Santiago confessed that he planned the attack. The man purchased a one-way ticket to the airport and brought along his gun and two magazines. The gun was loaded in a bathroom, and Santiago shot the first people he saw as he exited that bathroom. Santiago claims to have been aiming for the heads of his victims.
It is known that Santiago has had some run ins with the law, and that he served for nine years in the National Guard. Santiago served a 10-month tour of duty in Iraq and, according to a family member, returned a changed man. Family also says that Santiago became distant, refusing to return texts or telephone calls.
Victims of the shooting include Terry Andres, 63, at the airport to start a vacation with his wife, and Olga Woltering, 84, a great grandmother at the airport with her husband. The motive for the shooting is still under investigation, and Santiago is said to be cooperating with federal authorities.
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