Shooter in Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport caught and charged
On Jan. 6, a lone gunman opened fire on the unsuspecting patrons of Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Five people were killed in the attack and eight injured, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s department.
Esteban Ruiz Santiago, Age 26, opened fire at 1 pm around the baggage claim area in Terminal 2. Santiago continued to shoot for 80 seconds until he ran out of bullets; he then surrendered himself by laying down on the ground and waiting for the police.
The airport was evacuated and closed but many people still experienced the terror of the shooting. Gene Messina, who was at the airport to pick up his friends said, “All of a sudden I heard screaming and running, people coming from security, yelling ‘He has a gun, he has a gun!,’”
Santiago told investigators that he planned the attack before buying a one-way ticket to Fort Lauderdale, Florida from Alaska. The FBI has proclaimed that Santiago’s only checked baggage for the flight was a box with three items: a Walther 9mm semi-automatic handgun and two magazines. After arriving in Fort Lauderdale, Santiago claimed his baggage then went into the bathroom and loaded the weapon. He walked out of the bathroom and proceeded to fire on the first person he encountered.
Many of the victims were ordinary people on vacation. Terry Andres, 62, Olga Woltering, 82, and Michael Oehme, 57, were three of the five victims who were killed in Friday’s attack. Andres was a volunteer firefighter in Virginia and was in Fort Lauderdale to go on a Caribbean Cruise. His daughter told local media that he died in the terminal after being shot multiple times. Woltering was an avid member of the church. Her family released a statement on Facebook: “Her bright smile and loving manner will be missed by all who had the fortune to know her. She rarely seemed to meet a stranger, rather she had a smile or a hug for all.” Oehme was also heading to a cruise for his vacation, when the massacre started. Both Woltering and Oehme also died in the terminal. Authorities have not release info on the other victims.
Santiago was also formally charged with performing an act of violence against a person at an airport serving international civil aviation that caused serious bodily injury, using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence and causing the death of a person through the use of a firearm. Two of his charges carry a maximum penalty of death. Santiago’s detention hearing is scheduled for Jan. 17 and his arraignment hearing is scheduled for Jan. 23.