Chaos. Violence. Carnage. Confusion.
On January 6, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a baggage carousel at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Five people were killed and eight others injured.
In August 2018, a federal judge sentenced Esteban Santiago to life imprisonment. He pleaded guilty to murders committed at the airport to avoid the death penalty.
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Here is a summary of the news of the day of the shooting and the Miami Herald's archives on the victims and the shooter.
Posted on January 6, 2017:
A struggling army veteran, who was passing Friday through the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, recovered a firearm from his checked baggage, loaded it into the bathroom and then opened fire on other passengers waiting near a baggage carousel.
Moments later, five people were dead and eight injured. The mass shootings ended one of South Florida's busiest travel hubs and plunged the airport into chaos, which took place live on television. Hundreds of panicked passengers fled, flights were rerouted and planes were blocked on the tarmac.
The alleged gunman was identified as Esteban Santiago, law enforcement officials said at the Miami Herald. It is believed that he was a passenger of a Delta Airlines flight departing from Minneapolis that landed at Fort Lauderdale around noon.
After recovering his handgun from a registration bag, Santiago entered the bathroom and loaded the weapon. He then entered the baggage claim area of Terminal 2 shortly before 1 pm and started shooting.
Witnesses testified that after firing three shots, the shooter went to the police without a fight.
Santiago wore a form of military identity. A former private officer and combat engineer in the US Army, he served for two years in Iraq and resides in Anchorage, Alaska.
Although the Broward sheriff's office, which would not call Santiago, said there was only one shooter, passengers and airport staff panicked about an hour after the shooting, when a second gunman was falsely reported to the airport. Dozens of people fled across the tarmac as police in combat gear reacted with unsheathed weapons and live television cameras.
The police and the passengers at the terminal went behind the parked cars. Sheriff Broward Scott Israel later said that the only shooting occurred at Terminal 2 earlier in the day.
The confusion that followed in Terminal 1 would have been caused by an injured person during the evacuation from the airport, Israel said. Israel said that the alleged gunman had been arrested, unharmed, by OSB deputies.
"At this point, it seems like he's been acting alone," Israel said.
Israel would not name the victims and would not disclose their gender or age. He would not say which flights the victims had arrived or which airlines they had stolen. He could not specify the extent of injuries sustained by the eight wounded, who are all treated in hospitals in the area.
"This scene is considered fluid and active," Israel said.
Later in the day, a NBC affiliate in Virginia identified one of the deceased victims as Terry Andres, 62, of Virginia Beach. He died at the airport, according to a report from WAVY-TV.
Andres's daughter told the local TV channel that her father was at the airport with his wife unharmed and that both were going on vacation. He worked at the Norfolk Shipyard. BSO homicide detectives and FBI investigators interview the shooter and witnesses.
No reasons were revealed Friday.
"The survey is very early. We have a lot of preliminary information. But at this point, our role is to actively support the Broward Sheriff's office, "said George Piro, special agent for the FBI's Miami Field Office.
Israel said the FBI would take control if the attack was considered related to terrorism, but it was too early to know if that was the case. However, law enforcement officials confirmed at the Miami Herald that Santiago had gone to an FBI office in Anchorage in November to confess that he felt compelled to fight for the ISIS terrorist group.
Florida Governor Rick Scott, who said he heard about the shooting in Fort Myers, went on Friday night to the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. He called the shooting "a mad gesture of evil".
"We are still waiting for a lot of information," Scott said in a written statement. "But we know that many people have been killed and many are fighting to stay alive in Broward County hospitals. It was an attack on innocent people who were just trying to go home to their family or have a fun trip this weekend. "
FLL Director Mark Gale said the airport had suspended all operations and could not say when flights would resume. "We will proceed step by step, methodically in the building before reopening the operations," he said.
Gale said Friday night that he was hoping to see the airport reopen by 5am Saturday. Port Everglades was also closed to incoming land traffic until further notice and passengers were asked to call their airline or their cruise line to get the latest information.
The court records show that Santiago, the alleged gunman, lives or lived in Alaska and was the victim of a minor offense, including a $ 1,000 fine for driving without insurance and another offense for driving with broken rear lights.
Last year, an Anchorage landlord evicted him for non-payment of rent. In January, he was charged with committing offenses and assault. This case is ongoing.
His lawyer did not respond to a request for comment. Santiago apparently has no criminal record in Florida.
President Barack Obama was informed of the shooting on Friday afternoon, the White House announced. Obama spoke to Scott and offered his condolences to the families of those killed as well as his prayers for the wounded, said National Security Council spokesman Ned Price.
President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence spoke to the Florida governor on his way to Fort Lauderdale. "I just spoke to Governor Scott," Trump told Twitter. "Thoughts and prayers for all. Stay safe!
The false alert of a second gunman has exacerbated chaos at the airport.
Although the Federal Aviation Administration initially reported that flights continued to land at FLL, following the false announcement of a second gunman, the FAA planned a stopover for flights across the country driven to Fort Lauderdale. These flights were tied up at departure airports and those that had already landed at Fort Lauderdale are not allowed to disembark.
Several flights were diverted to other airports in South Florida, including Miami International. Ethan Repman and his girlfriend, Jessica Deer, said that they had boarded a Southwest Airlines flight shortly after 11 am, eager to take a cruise to the Bahamas. They had retrieved their luggage and were waiting for a shuttle to take them to Port Everglades when they started hearing screaming outside Terminal 1.
"We saw all these cops, then someone shouted" shots were fired "and the officers ordered us to evacuate all the places," Repman said. People rushed to get their luggage and find their loved ones.
Some families have been separated in chaos.
Kristen Viers said she had just arrived from Ohio with her 6 year old grandson when the commotion began. She grabbed her grandson, placed it on the top of his luggage cart and pulled it frantically out of the terminal. Everyone was screaming and shouting about the shots, she said.
"I was terrified," said Viers. "There were policemen armed with rifles everywhere and I just took my cart with my grandson as fast as I could." A live shot of WPLG-ABC 10 at 14:45. have shown hundreds of travelers walking along the railroad tracks to the east of the airport – many of them walking their hands above the head to show that they are not going anywhere. had no weapons.
Traffic near the airport was blocked after the first call to police, according to which shots had been fired at the airport, was launched at 12:55. At the intersection of Griffin Road and US 1, the police created a detention area under Interstate 595 for several hundred evacuees from the airport.
They were released one by one after being searched under the threat of a gun by the Hollywood police, who said they were looking for weapons and that they were sure that no one was dying. Another was involved in the shooting.
With hands in the air and helicopters hovering overhead, people slowly emerged from the airport grounds, some with luggage in hand, others after l '39; to have left behind them.
"We were in the parking lot and people started running in the opposite direction. So we started running as before, "said Daniel McFadden, 42, of Louisiana. "We left our suitcase."
Thomas Sanders, who was traveling with Mills, said several parents were separated from their children during the unrest. "I feel very bad … Everyone is crying," said Sanders, "A mother and a father have lost their children, it's hell there."
Yudi Martinez, who works in the airport car rental section, approached the terminal to begin his shift when gunshots rang out.
"Everyone fell to the ground. I started to hyperventilate, "said Martinez. "In a few seconds, everyone was running."
Former White House press officer Ari Fleischer, who worked for President George W. Bush, was at the airport, tweeting that "shots were fired. Everyone is running. "
Fleischer then tweeted that "everything looks calm now but the police are not letting anyone out of the airport".
Eyewitnesses at the airport posted photos and other messages on Twitter, including an image showing a person bleeding profusely while she was sitting in a corner outside the terminal .
Mark Lea, who testified to witnessing the shooting, told MSNBC that the shooter was wearing a T-shirt and that he had entered the baggage claim area of Terminal 2 and opened fire with a only handgun.
Lea said that the man did not speak while firing before giving up and lying face down while a police officer took him into custody. "He had no intention of escaping."
Posted on January 7, 2017:
The man believed to have shot down 13 people at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday afternoon, killing five people and wounding eight, is a veteran decorated with the US military in Iraq who flew to South Florida from Alaska – where he had recently received mental health treatment By confessing, he felt compelled to fight for the terrorist group ISIS.
Federal investigators believe that Esteban Santiago, 26, landed in Fort Lauderdale on Friday afternoon with a semi-automatic handgun controlled. He took his suitcase from Terminal 2's carousel and entered the men's room, where the investigators suspect that Santiago had loaded the weapon. Then he returned to the baggage claim area and pulled the trigger.
Witnesses described Santiago's shooting magazine after the ammunition magazine. In some cases, he feared, he aimed at the heads of his victims. Deputy sheriff Broward's office captured Santiago unharmed, without firing a shot, Sheriff Scott Israel said.
"We have not ruled out terrorism," said Friday Friday George Piro, the FBI's special agent. In November, Santiago went voluntarily to an FBI office in Anchorage to confess that he felt compelled – by voices in his head – to fight for ISIS, although he said he did not no intention to hurt anyone.
Piro said the federal government, alarmed by Santiago's "erratic" behavior, alerted the local police, who placed Santiago in custody and sent him to be examined by his mental state.
It is unclear how long the assessment lasted, where it took place and what psychiatrists discovered. Investigators need to review the profiles and assets of social media in Santiago to try to understand his state of mind and possible motivations.
Officers scattered in several states, including Alaska and New Jersey, to chase the tracks.
A Facebook profile supposed to belong to Santiago quickly disappeared from the site. It was the same for an Instagram account that appeared to show three photographs of Santiago – in army uniform, with cohorts and with a Puerto Rican flag. Other snapshots have shown in London, with a cousin from Southwest Florida and wearing several tattoos.
That the owners of Santiago, one of the accounts or both, are not verified by the authorities. The investigators interviewed Santiago on Friday. He remained in federal custody, with his first court appearance scheduled for Monday.
Why Santiago was in Fort Lauderdale is unknown. Santiago boarded Delta Air Lines flight 1088 bound for Minneapolis late Thursday night, said Jesse Davis, chief of police at Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage. The flight then continued to Fort Lauderdale. Santiago traveled alone.
According to Davis, the only baggage in which he was registered was a locked handgun.
"It's consistent with the policy [for it] to be in a lockable briefcase, "said Davis.
The investigators first indicated that they thought Santiago had come from Canada, but that turned out to be inaccurate.
A spokesman for Delta refused to give details about Santiago.
Santiago may have discussed with some passengers the flight, the Herald learned, but Piro, the FBI agent, said that he could not confirm this account late Friday.
"At this point, we are not aware of any incident on the flight or during the baggage claim," said Piro.
Santiago lived in Anchorage, according to public records. He was fired from the army last summer. Santiago, a former member of the military, was a veteran of the war in Iraq who also served in Puerto Rico and Alaska between December 2007 and August 2016, according to Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead of the National Guard of Alaska.
Olmstead said Santiago had served in Alaska for less than two years, as of November 21, 2014, and had received a "general discharge" from the Alaska Guard on August 16, 2016, "for poor performance." She did not specify.
He joined the Puerto Rican National Guard on December 14, 2007, said Olmstead, deployed in Iraq from April 23, 2010 to February 19, 2011, and also made a stay in the Army Reserve before joining the Guard of Alaska.
The Army released a nearly 10-year-old military record that described Santiago being released from the Alaska Guard in August in the Inactive Ready Reserve, which meant he might be available for service ulterior.
His name is also inscribed as Esteban Santiago-Ruiz. His assignments included a brief stint at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, possibly for training, and a single deployment to Iraq. He has received 10 medals and ribbons for his service, including the Commendation and Good Conduct medals, as well as the campaign medal for Iraq with a country star.
In January, Santiago was charged in Alaska with charges of misdemeanor and assault. The charges stemmed from an alleged assault on his girlfriend at his home in Anchorage, according to court records obtained by Alaska Dispatch News.
The girlfriend told the police that Santiago had crushed the bathroom door and tried to strangle her, although one officer claimed that she did not seem to have been hurt, reported the newspaper.
Santiago was later charged with returning to his girlfriend's house, which he was ordered to avoid. A spokeswoman for the Anchorage Police Department forwarded all questions to the FBI. Santiago's lawyer did not respond to a request for comment. Santiago's brother in Puerto Rico told the Associated Press that Santiago had received psychological treatment in Alaska.
Bryan Santiago did not know why or how his brother was treated. He was aware of the help of a call that his family had received in recent months from Esteban Santiago's girlfriend, AP reported.
Santiago was born in New Jersey but moved to Puerto Rico at the age of 2, according to the AP. Esteban Santiago grew up in the coastal town south of Peñuelas.
Santiago's aunt, María Ruiz, told reporters in Union City, New Jersey, that Santiago seemed troubled on his return from Iraq. According to the Bergen Record, Ruiz is said to be "happy" after the birth of his baby boy in September.
"I do not know why it happened," Ruiz told the record, as FBI agents showed up at his door. "A month ago, it was like he had lost his mind," she added. "He said that he saw things."
A LUCKY WITNESS
Posted on January 7, 2017:
The shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday afternoon ended with 13 deaths and five deaths.
But one person avoided serious injuries with a satchel and his MacBook.
Steve Frappier, 37, a school counselor in Atlanta and former director of the university board at Ransom Everglades, was in town for a conference on education and had just claimed his luggage.
While people gathered to pack their bags, Frappier heard firecracker sounds but "I did not think much about it, because in an airport, there were always loud sounds."
He then heard someone screaming, "He has a gun!" Come down! Everyone in the area touched the ground.
Frappier saw a man, identified by the forces of order as Esteban Santiago, 26, quietly start firing at people.
"He never said anything all the time," said Frappier. "He was cool, calm and collected. He never made a face.
As luggage began to fall on the treadmill, Frappier said he saw a man being shot in the head.
"His wife was screaming and hovering over him," he said.
He then felt a stifled impact on his back and thought it was only luggage falling on him. It was only after the shooter had surrendered that Frappier fell asleep and went to the bathroom.
He opened his backpack and saw a bullet in his Macbook Pro, released from school.
He handed his backpack to FBI agents, who found the 9mm bullet inside the backpack, where it fell after touching the computer.
"If I did not have that backpack, the bullet would have pulled me between the shoulders," Frappier said. "It still does not seem real."
Posted on January 8, 2017:
An isolated gunman opened fire on Friday afternoon at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, causing six serious injuries and five others.
Officials did not reveal the names of the victims, but families started telling their stories to the media.
Here are the stories of some of these victims.
Shirley Timmons Timmons was originally from Senecaville, Ohio, and died at the airport, according to Jim Reineccius, a family member. Timmons' husband Steve Timmons was shot in the mouth and taken to the hospital in a coma.
After the initial shooting, there was confusion as to whether Shirley was dead or had just been separated from her family.
Relatives turned to social media to ask for information. A family spokesman told an Ohio radio station that "Steve and Shirley have raised an amazing family, three amazing girls. Their family was everything for them.
He added that the couple were on a family cruise from Fort Lauderdale.
Steve and Shirley, who owned The Mayfair stores in Cambridge, Ohio, now closed, were married in 1966, according to an announcement made on his birthday in the Daily Jeffersonian. Their 51st wedding anniversary would have taken place on January 28th. Steve is retired from Northwest Aluminum in The Dalles, Oregon.
Terry Andres, 62 years old Andres was from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and died at the airport, according to a NBC affiliate in Virginia, WAVY-TV. His 37-year-old daughter, Ryan Kim, told the Palm Beach Post that her father and mother had just arrived in Fort Lauderdale as they were leaving for a cruise when her father left the Delta Sky Club. Terminal 2 to get a luggage cart.
"So everything happened," Kim said. "And after all the ruckus ended, they did not realize that my father was not there right away." Andres's wife, Ann, was unhurt.
The couple had been married for almost 40 years. Kim explained that her father had been working at the Norfolk shipyard for about 20 years, most recently as a radiological control technician. He also volunteered with the Oceana Fire Department in Virginia Beach.
"I know everyone always says that people are the greatest in the world, but he was the greatest person you could know," said Kim. "He has never had a horrible word to say about anyone or anything."
A former fire department volunteer, Tommy Harrell, told the Miami Herald that he remembered Terry "as a wonderful person who did everything to help others."
Olga Woltering Woltering and her husband, Ralph, are from Marietta, Georgia. The couple traveled to Fort Lauderdale for a cruise with their children, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper.
Ralph was not injured during the shooting, but Olga was killed.
The cruise was to celebrate Ralph's 90th birthday, said a clergyman, Dan Blankowski. The couple was involved in the Catholic Church of the Transfiguration since joining in 1978, he said, and on regular seating at 5 pm. Mass.
"Calling them pillars of the church would be a euphemism," Blankowski said.
Olga, a great-grandmother, has never been seen without a big smile, he said. His habit of calling everyone "love" or "lovey" was made even more charming by his British accent.
"Olga was one of the happiest, most loving, dedicated and committed people I have ever met," church pastor Fernando Molina-Restrepo said in a statement. "It's a horrible tragedy for everyone here at the metamorphosis, especially because Olga was so loved."
Other parishioners lamented Olga's death on social media.
"The tragedy struck too close to home today. Transfiguration Church lost a loving and caring woman during the attack on Fort Lauderdale Airport, "wrote Jerry de Varennes on Facebook, accompanied by a photo of the couple on a couch, smiling and bouncing babies on their knees.
The family issued a statement on Saturday demanding the confidentiality of her time of mourning and calling Olga "the cornerstone of our family".
"Although she is absent from our lives now, she stays in our hearts, our thoughts and our memories forever," they wrote. "Everyone who has been lucky enough to know her will miss her bright smile and love. She rarely seemed to meet a stranger, she had a smile or a hug for everyone. She has been a blessing in the lives of family and friends. "
The couple lived in a community of retirees and was socially active, told the Associated Press Alvin Connolly, a member of their church. "She and her husband were kind to the life of the party," he said.
"They would go to a dance and be the last on the floor." "You look at them and say," Dude, I hope I can do whatever they do when I'm that old. " Connolly said.
Michael Oehme, 57 years old Michael Oehme and his wife, Kari, flew to Omaha, Nebraska, Fort Lauderdale, for their annual cruise. When the shooting began, he was killed and his wife injured, according to the Omaha TV channel WOWT.
The witness who spoke about the couple on television, Mark Lea, told KETV, an ABC affiliate of Omaha ABC, that he had run to help Kari Oehme moments after the murder.
"I saw that she had a blow on the right shoulder … and she said," Where is my husband, where is my husband? "And I asked him to describe it, she described it and I just watched it there. and saw a white-haired guy dressed in a blue shirt … and he did not move, did not breathe. "
According to Omaha World-Herald, Michael Oehme was the owner of a surveying company. They lived in Council Bluffs, Iowa, which is located on the other side of the Missouri River and Omaha.
His sister told The Associated Press that the couple were heading to the Caribbean. "They were supposed to leave today," Elizabeth Oehme-Miller, 52, said Saturday.
"They were happy to make another trip." A family member is coming down to help Kari, who was an office worker in a Council Bluffs office, going home.
Oehme-Miller heard about the news through a text message from her daughter. "I still can not believe it's true," she said. "He's not hit yet, I'm a little shocked right now."