Terrifying security video from Ft,Lauderdale Airport, shows shooter Esteban Santiago pulling a semi-automatic handgun from his waistband and shooting at random people in the baggage carousel area in Terminal 2.
According to court records, Esteban told investigators that he planned the attack and bought a one-way ticket to Fort Lauderdale to carry it out. Although Esteban Santoago travled nearly 5,000 miles from Anchorage, Alaska, to Fort Lauderdale, the motive for the shooting remains unclear.
Santiago legally checked his 9mm Walther semi-automatic and 2 magazines of ammunition in his baggage on a Delta Airlines flight from Alaska via Minnesota. After picking up his bag from the baggage carousel, Santiago unpacked the gun, loaded it inside a men’s restroom, and shot the first people he saw after he walked out of the restroom.
Santiago was briefly hospitalized in November after walking into the FBI office in Anchorage and asking for help, telling agents the U.S. government was controlling his mind and forcing him to watch Islamic State propaganda videos. Authorities said the mother of his 2-month-old baby son was called to take custody of the baby. Police also seized his gun and took him to a local psychiatric hospital for treatment, however, Santiago’s gun was returned to him on Dec. 8, less than one month before the shooting in Fort Lauderdale took place.
Santiago, believed to have had a history of mental health problems since returning from Iraq, is a former National Guard soldier who was born in New Jersey and grew up in Puerto Rico but most recently lived in Anchorage.
Family members said Santiago was hearing voices and was severely affected by seeing a bomb explode near two of his friends while serving in Iraq. Santiago was discharged from the National Guard last year after being demoted for unsatisfactory performance.
It was recently uncovered that Esteban Santiago registered on MySpace under the name “Aashiq Hammad” and recorded Islamic religious music on the site, 3 years before he ever deployed to Iraq as a U.S. soldier.
— WeSearchr (@wesearchr) January 7, 2017
Santiago, 26, is facing federal charges involving murder, firearms and airport violence. Formal charges have not yet been filed against Santiago.