US Suspected Fort Lauderdale Airport Gunman Was ‘Pro-America’ and in Army, Brother Says

02:20  07 january  2017
02:20  07 january  2017 Source:   people.com

Sprawling airports difficult to defend from armed attack

  Sprawling airports difficult to defend from armed attack The deadly shooting at Fort Lauderdale’s airport serves as a stark reminder of the challenges of providing security outside checkpoints at sprawling airports. Transportation Security Administration officers scrutinize passengers before they board planes, but those officers are unarmed and located inside the airport beyond airline check-in desks. Armed local police routinely patrol public areas of airports, but sparsely compared to TSA staffing. Jeh Johnson, secretary of Homeland Security, has moved to limit airport terminal entrances and have more uniformed patrols of public areas in airports, such as arrivals and baggage claim. But the lack of security at terminal doors is a vulnerability that officials have long acknowledged, but that is difficult to remedy because of the prohibitive cost of staffing every entrance. Evidence of the challenge came in the June bombing of Istanbul’s airport, when three men detonated explosives on luggage carts as two approached a security checkpoint, while a third remained outside. The attack, which killed 45 people, was linked to the Islamic State. Security experts said the death toll could have been higher if the airport hadn't posted armed guards at the terminal doors. That move came after March bombings at Brussels airport and a nearby subway station killed 32 people. In November 2013 at Los Angeles airport, a gunman killed a TSA officer and wounded several passengers.

Family photo of Esteban Santiago, 26, the alleged gunman who killed at least five people at a Florida airport on Friday, January 6, 2017. Family photo/Handout photo via NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK Family photo of Esteban Santiago, 26, the alleged gunman who killed at least five people at a Florida airport on Friday, January 6, 2017. Family photo/Handout photo via NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK

The suspect in Friday’s shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport had served in the military, and his brother told NBC News that he was “was pro-America.”

A federal law enforcement source tells PEOPLE Esteban Santiago, 26, who allegedly killed five and injured eight at the Florida airport’s Terminal 2, had a military ID on him when he was taken into police custody.

Details emerge of suspect in Fort Lauderdale airport shootings

  Details emerge of suspect in Fort Lauderdale airport shootings A shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Friday left five dead and eight wounded, as the airport descended into chaos, with passengers taking shelter, flights diverted and unsubstantiated reports of additional gunshots.A suspect identified as Esteban Santiago, 26, was taken into custody without incident. He reportedly retrieved a gun from a checked bag and started shooting. A veteran of service in Iraq, he had been discharged from the Alaska Army National Guard last August for unsatisfactory performance, according to its public affairs office.

According to the official, he was discharged from the Army last year on a general discharge, with a final rank of E-4. (E-4 is Corporal or Specialist.)

According to his brother, Bryan Santiago, the suspect was born in New Jersey, but moved to Puerto Rico at age two, reported the Associated Press.

A spokesperson from the Alaska Army National Guard tells PEOPLE the suspect served in the National Guard in Puerto Rico for several years, and served overseas in Iraq from 2010 to 2011.

The spokesperson says he was in the Army Reserves prior to joining the Alaska Army National Guard in Nov. 2014, in which he served as a combat engineer.

He received a general discharge from the Alaska Army National Guard in Aug. 2016 for unsatisfactory performance.

Airport Reopens After Deadly Shooting Chaos

  Airport Reopens After Deadly Shooting Chaos Fort Lauderdale airport reopened after Friday's deadly shooting but flight delays and cancellations were set to continue.People take cover outside the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport after a shooting took place near baggage claim on Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Officials are reporting that five people wear killed and 8 wounded in an attack by a single gunman.

For the last two years, the suspect has lived in Alaska, Bryan told NBC News, where he worked as a security guard.

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His time in Alaska involved a lot of “fighting,” Bryan said, explaining that the suspect was often in conflict with his girlfriend. The woman called the suspect’s family in recent months to inform them that he was seeking psychological treatment.

The suspect is also a father, Bryan said.

“He is a regular person, spiritual, a good person,” he told NBC.

The federal law enforcement official told PEOPLE that the suspect arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, Friday, on a Delta red-eye flight originating from Anchorage via Minneapolis, with checked baggage containing a firearm.

He allegedly picked up the checked firearm at baggage claim, before going to the bathroom, gathering his weapon and changing into a Star Wars shirt. He then exited the bathroom and allegedly began firing at those around the baggage carousel.

He was apprehended by a Broward County sheriff’s deputy and taken into custody without incident, Sheriff Scott Israel said at a Friday press conference. Israel added that the suspect, who wasn’t hit by gunfire, is being interviewed by FBI agents and Broward County sheriff’s deputies.

Bryan confirmed to NBC News that his brother owned a handgun, and suggested that maybe the incident was caused by a “flashback” to his time in Iraq. He said that the suspect was not diagnosed with PTSD, however.

Airport shooting suspect appears in federal court .
Esteban Santiago, the 26-year-old military veteran charged with killing and injuring nearly a dozen travelers with a handgun at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, was ordered detained before trial on Monday by a federal magistrate judge.Judge Alicia Valle also assigned a federal public defender to represent Santiago, a New Jersey native raised in Puerto Rico, after determining he was unable to pay for his own lawyer. His arraignment, when formal charges will be presented, was set for Jan. 23.

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This is interesting!