By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA): At least five people were killed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in southeastern Florida, authorities said Friday.
Eight other shooting victims have been transferred to a nearby hospital, according to the Broward County Sheriff.
“I’m at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. Shots have been fired. Everyone is running,” Ari Fleischer, who was former President George W. Bush spokesman, tweeted from the scene.
He later said that the area had calmed, but officers were not allowing anyone to leave his location.
High-ranking Florida lawmaker Bill Nelson identified the shooter as Esteban Santiago while speaking to MSNBC. Santiago had a military ID in his possession when he was taken into custody, Nelson said, although whether it was his and valid is unclear.
The suspected shooter appeared to open fire randomly in the baggage claim of Terminal 2.
The suspect, who had served in the U.S. military and a veteran of Iraq war, was arrested by a sheriff’s deputy “without incident”, according to Sheriff Scott Israel who told reporters it appears the individual had acted alone.
He said it is too early to determine a motive.
A law enforcement official told the Associated Press that Santiago had walked into the FBI office in Anchorage in November to say that the US government was controlling his mind and making him watch Islamic State videos.
A military spokeswoman told the Associated Press that in 2016 Santiago received a general discharge from the Alaska army national guard for unsatisfactory performance. He had joined the guard in November 2014, she said, having previously served in the army reserves.
All flights and services have been suspended at the airport, and will be “for an extended period of time” the airport said.
Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said planes waiting on the tarmac were allowed to depart.
Some passengers who have been held on planes at various gates may be flown to other airports, an airport representative said.
Between 80,000 and 100,000 passengers travel through Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International daily.
Additional reporting from Agencies
[Photo: Passengers who were at Fort Lauderdale International Airport during Friday’s shooting were rounded up and not allowed to leave until police could confirm they had nothing to do with the shooting on January 06, 2017 in Florida, USA. Photographer: Muhabiri Carlos Miller/AA]