FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Broward county official says the Fort Lauderdale airport shooter pulled a gun out of a checked bag, loaded in a bathroom and started shooting, killing five people and wounding at least eight.
Chip LaMarca, a Broward County commissioner, was briefed on the airport shooting by Broward Sheriff’s office. He told The Associated Press by phone that the shooter was a passenger on a Canadian flight and had checked a gun.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson says the Fort Lauderdale airport gunman was carrying a military ID with the name Esteban Santiago, though it’s not clear if it belonged to him or to someone else.
Nelson did not spell the name for reporters during a news conference Friday. Nelson says the baggage claim area is a “soft target.” The airport had initially reported an “incident” in the baggage claim area.
Nelson says a motive still hasn’t been determined.
Sheriff Scott Israel says the gunman was not harmed and that law enforcement did not fire any shots. He says it is not yet known if the shooting was an act of terror.
Israel also says there was nothing to substantiate reports of a second shooting at the airport.
A passenger says he heard the first gunshots as he picked up his luggage from a baggage claim carousel in a shooting at a Florida airport that left five dead and eight wounded.
John Schilcher told Fox News the person next to him fell to the ground Friday. He says other people started falling, and he then dropped to the ground with his wife and mother-in-law. Schilcher says “the firing just went on and on.”
He says the shooter emptied his weapon and reloaded during an eerily quiet lull in the gunfire. Schilcher says he didn’t assume it was safe until he saw a police officer standing over him at the Fort Lauderdale international airport.
He says he remained on the ground and was told not to move as authorities investigated unconfirmed reports of a second shooting.
Earlier in the afternoon, the shooting stopped all traffic at the airport. Passengers were evacuated from the terminal 2 baggage claim area. Passengers returned to the airport as officials said the lone gunman was in custody. But TV reports showed some passengers evacuating again, several looking panicked and ducking behind cars or hiding.
Witness Judah Fernandez told CNN he heard what he believes were the first shots, re-entered the airport, but then rushed out again shortly later to the tarmac. He said: “Everyone’s running now.” He said both security officials and passengers were running.
Authorities say five people were killed and eight were wounded after a lone suspect opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, international airport.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office tweeted the information following Friday afternoon’s shooting.
Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief told CNN that authorities “have an active crime scene investigation involving terminal 2.”
News stations showed video of medics taking care of a bleeding victim outside the airport. Helicopters hovering over the scene showed hundreds of people standing on the tarmac as an ambulance drove by and numerous law enforcement officers, including tactical units, rushed to the scene.
Former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer tweeted that he was at the airport when shots were fired and “everyone is running.”