Detectives investigating the fatal multiple shooting in Fort Lauderdale Hollywood Airport in Florida are trying to establish whether the gunman had mental health problems, or whether he could have links to any terror organisations.
Iraq war veteran Esteban Santiago opened fire in the lower baggage claim area in the airport’s Terminal 2, killing five people. He had flown in from Alaska, with a layover in Minneapolis. A gun was his only piece of checked luggage. When he claimed his bag, he then went to a bathroom at the airport, loaded his gun and started shooting.
While details of all victims are now yet known, two people have been named so far. Terry Andres, of Virginia, was a 62 year old grandad who was at the airport with his wife because they were going on holiday. Olga Woltering, from Georgia, was also killed. She had been due to go on a cruise with her husband Ralph as a special trip to celebrate his 90th birthday.
Detectives are now trying to establish why the lone gunman was in Florida and what his motives could have been. Officials with the FBI say terrorism has not been ruled out. According to Santiago’s family, he has had mental health problems following service in Iraq.
Santiago displayed disturbing behaviour last year when he walked into an FBI office in Anchorage, saying that the government was trying to control his mind and that he was being forced into viewing video footage from ISIS. Following that, it is understood that he was having medical treatment. He was also questioned by FBI officials after a former employer raised concerns about him, according to reports.
The gunman was in service from 2007 to 2016 with the Puerto Rico National Guard, and also the Alaska National Guard. He was in Iraq for a year from 2010. As a private first class and combat engineer, he was awarded a number of medals, but then was discharged from service for unsatisfactory performance last year.