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US Fort Lauderdale airport shooting suspect had visited FBI office in Alaska last year

06:20  07 january  2017
06:20  07 january  2017 Source:   msn.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.

The Fort Lauderdale airport shooting was a mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale –Hollywood International Airport in Broward County, Florida, United States, on January 6, 2017

Police in Florida have questioned a suspected gunman after five people were killed and eight injured in a shooting at Fort Lauderdale airport . The suspect has been identified by police as 26- year -old Esteban Santiago, an Iraq war veteran. Officials say they have not ruled out terrorism as a possible Mr Piro said that Mr Santiago had turned up at an FBI office in his hometown of Anchorage, Alaska , in November, behaving erratically and was turned over to local police, who took him to a medical facility for a mental evaluation. "We looked at his contacts, we did our inter-agency checks and everything

A passenger from a just-arrived flight allegedly pulled a weapon from his checked bag and opened fire Friday at Fort Lauderdale’s international airport in a bloody shooting rampage that killed five people and injured eight others.

The attack at a quiet baggage-claim area sent people scrambling through the terminals and across the airfield at one of the country’s busiest airports, shutting down all flights while paramedics and federal and local law enforcement officers flooded the scene.

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

  Suspected Fort Lauderdale Airport Gunman Was ‘Pro-America’ and in Army, Brother Says 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. 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. The suspect in Friday’s shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport had

Airport attack suspect had gun in checked bag. Who is Esteban Santiago? Fort Lauderdale suspect charged in court. Investigators: Shooting suspect plotted attack. FBI comments on meeting with suspect in 2016. He was a member of the Alaska Army National Guard from November 2014 until August when he was discharged for unsatisfactory performance, a spokeswoman for the guard said. In November, Santiago paid a visit to the FBI office in Anchorage, telling agents he was hearing voices and being directed by a US intelligence agency to watch ISIS videos, law enforcement sources told

The Fort Lauderdale airport shooting suspect , Esteban Santiago, had a gun confiscated and held by police until he picked it up a month later, law enforcement says. "As far as I know, this is not somebody that would have been prohibited based on the information that (authorities in Alaska ) have . I think that law enforcement acted within the laws that they have ," said US attorney Karen Loeffler. Santiago got the gun back a month later when he retrieved the pistol from police headquarters, and it was that weapon, law enforcement sources told CNN, that he used to shoot 11 people Friday at the

The alleged gunman, identified by authorities as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago of Anchorage, was taken into custody unharmed. An Iraq War veteran, he had been given a general discharge from the Alaska National Guard in August after being demoted in rank, military officials said.

Authorities said that the suspect was being questioned by police and the FBI and that his motive remained under investigation.

“This could well be someone who is mentally deranged, or in fact it could be someone who had a much more sinister motive that we have to worry about every day, and that is terrorism,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). “We can’t conclude that.”

Santiago had picked up his bag and took the gun into the bathroom to load it before returning to the baggage-claim area and firing at people, said federal officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.

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.

Last November, Mr Santiago walked into an FBI office in Alaska in an agitated and incoherent state, the FBI and Anchorage police said. He was carrying a loaded magazine but had left his handgun in his car, with his newborn child. During the later mental health evaluation, he told the FBI he was hearing voices Wile FM reported that her husband was shot in the head and underwent emergency surgery at a hospital in Fort Lauderdale , where he was in critical condition. Mr Santiago is a former member of the Puerto Rico and Alaska National Guard, according to the Pentagon. He served in Iraq from April

Santiago had arrived in Fort Lauderdale from Anchorage on board a Delta flight on Thursday night with a gun in checked luggage, said Jesse Davis, police chief at the Anchorage airport . Local media claimed Santiago had previously visited FBI offices in Anchorage, Alaska , and made disturbing George Piro, an FBI agent in charge of the Miami field office , confirmed that Santiago had come into the Anchorage office and said he clearly indicated at the time that he was not intent on hurting anyone. A military spokeswoman told the Associated Press that in 2016 Santiago received a general discharge

Travelers are allowed to bring firearms with them to flights as long as the guns are unloaded, locked in a hard-sided container and in checked baggage, according to the Transportation Security Administration. Ammunition can be brought onto flights but also must be placed in checked baggage.

Santiago is a U.S. citizen with ties to New Jersey, two federal officials said, but other details of his background did not immediately come into focus Friday afternoon.

According to federal law enforcement officials, he visited an FBI office in Anchorage late last year in an encounter that prompted authorities to believe he may have mental-health issues.

Santiago went to the FBI office to report something and was expressing incoherent thoughts, officials said. When he was interviewed by agents, he said he thought the federal government was trying to control him, according to officials recounting the visit. The FBI contacted local authorities to have him undergo a mental-health check, but the officials were not sure what happened after that.

Though there had been some early reports that Santiago had traveled to Florida from Canada, the Canadian Embassy in Washington said he had not been on a plane traveling from that country. They said he had flown to Florida from Alaska, with a stop in Minnesota.

“The suspect did not fly from Canada and was not on a Canadian flight,” Christine Constantin, a spokeswoman for the embassy, said in a statement. “We understand from officials he was on a flight originating in Anchorage, transiting through Minneapolis and landing in Ft. Lauderdale. There is no Canadian connection.”

Delta Air Lines declined to comment on reports that Santiago had been on one of the airline’s flights, but a spokeswoman said the airline was working with investigators.

Another flurry of nervous activity erupted at the airport later Friday afternoon when there were reports of additional gunfire, but Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said there was no evidence of a second shooting. Police had said shortly before 3 p.m. that they were searching the airport following “unconfirmed reports” of additional gunfire, but Israel said there was “no second active shooter” and no additional victims.

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

A federal law enforcement official familiar with the investigation said that the suspect did not appear to say anything during his first interactions with police that suggested a political or terrorism-related motive.

The shooting took place in the baggage-claim area at the airport’s Terminal 2, home to departures and arrivals for Delta and Air Canada, according to the airport. Footage from the scene inside the building captured the brutal aftermath of the shooting in the baggage area, on the airport’s lower level.

Jay Cohen was dropped off at the airport for a flight and arrived after the gunfire had stopped, finding an unusual scene at the usually bustling facility.

“The airport was like a ghost town,” Cohen, 51, a consultant, said in a telephone interview. “I didn’t see anyone around.”

It wasn’t until he walked all the way up to the Delta counter without encountering a line or a single soul that he noticed about 20 people huddled together behind a nearby concrete wall. He said he peeked over the counter and saw the Delta employees on the ground trying to cover their heads with their hands.

“Hurry up. Get behind here,” someone whispered to him, he said. “Active shooter. Active shooter.”

As he looked around the terminal he previously thought was abandoned, he now could see people hiding under benches, squished up against windows, he said. Then Cohen saw police running full speed through the terminal, some with guns drawn, others with their hands on their holsters, while police cars began screaming up to the curb.

“It went from eerie quiet from when I walked in to pure mayhem in just minutes,” he said. “It was chaos.”

Many of those at the airport expressed frustration with the lack of information Friday. Hundreds were stranded on the tarmac and not allowed off the premises for hours as authorities sought to clear the airport, looking for other danger.

Sophia Macris, 35, on her way to vacation in Florida, was on her just-arrived plane from New York when the shooting occurred.

“They held our plane on the tarmac,” she said in an interview, still standing on the tarmac outside the terminal. “First, they told us there was fire alarm in Terminal 2. Then they said emergency situation.”

After the shooting, dozens of cars pulled over onto the shoulder of nearby Interstate 595. As hundreds of people waited alongside the highway, family members and friends repeatedly tried to call loved ones who were scheduled to be on arriving flights.

Saintnatus Adition paced along the highway as police cars raced past with sirens blaring. His 71-year-old father had just landed from Haiti when the chaos began. “He called and said it got very busy all of the sudden,” Adition said. He had been frantically calling him to find out whether he was okay but had not reached him as of Friday afternoon. “Of course I am very scared,” Adition said.

Adition finally heard from his father shortly after 6 p.m.

“I was so happy,” he said. “He told me he’s okay.”

Hernan Rivera, uncle of 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, the Florida shooting suspect, watches the news at his apartment in Union City, NJ. Credit: Viorel Florescu/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK Hernan Rivera, uncle of 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, the Florida shooting suspect, watches the news at his apartment in Union City, NJ. Credit: Viorel Florescu/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK

His father, along with thousands of other passengers, was still waiting in a terminal around 7:30 p.m.

Adition said his father and local authorities had told him that they did not know when passengers would be able to leave.

“Now we are waiting again,” he said.

All flights were suspended following the shooting, and the airport was closed, officials said. Officials at other major airports across the country, including in Los Angeles and Chicago, said they were beefing up security in response to the shooting in Florida.

President Obama was briefed on the situation at Fort Lauderdale on Friday afternoon and was to be updated as new information was available, said Ned Price, spokesman for the National Security Council.

“This is a senseless act of evil,” said Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who traveled to the airport to make his latestpublic remarks in the aftermath of a shooting rampage in his state.

Matt Zapotosky in Charleston, S.C., Abigail Hauslohner, Julie Tate and Dan Lamothe in Washington and Michael S. Rosenwald in Fort Lauderdale contributed to this report.

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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