Esteban Santiago, a man who was carrying military identification, has been named as the shooter at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Santiago is responsible for the deaths of at least five people at the Ft. Lauderdale airport and the injuries of multiple others.
Santiago arrived in Fort Lauderdale via a Delta Air Lines flight from Alaska that stopped in Minnesota. He had declared a handgun while checking into the flight from Alaska. When he arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, he picked his bag up from the Terminal 2 baggage claim, carried his bag into the bathroom, loaded it, and came out firing.
Update 4:51 PM EST: Originally it was believed Santiago had travelled from Canada via Air Canada, but the airline now says that they have no record of any Esteban Santiago or any checked handguns on flights to Fort Lauderdale.
NBC is now reporting that Santiago flew to Florida from Anchorage, but made a stop in Minneapolis.
Before his name was released, witnesses described Santiago as a man in his 30s, that he was wearing a Star Wars shirt, with dark hair, and a slender build. Despite what Senator Nelson told reporters on Friday, Santiago did not finish his ammunition and calmly wait for authorities to arrest him. According to eyewitnesses, Santiago was shooting until authorities arrived and only then did he sit down and comply.
Update–5:16 PM EST: We have more photos of Esteban that have been added in the link below.
Update 3:00 PM EST: A photo has been circulating of a man in handcuffs, allegedly this is Esteban Santiago.
Who Is Esteban Santiago?
Esteban Santiago has been identified as the man who shot multiple people at the Fort Lauderdale airport. NBC New York reports that he is a 26-year-old man who was born in New Jersey. He was born in March 1990.
Santiago joined the Puerto Rican National Guard in December 2007, and served in Iraq from April 2010 to February 2011. During his tour in Iraq, Santiago received the Iraq Campaign Medal, a combat-related honor. Following that tour, Santiago joined the Alaska Army National Guard in November 2014 until he was given a general discharge for unsatisfactory service.
Esteban Santiago’s brother, Bryan Santiago, says that when Esteban returned from war he was not right in the head. Bryan says that Esteban asked authorities for help, but didn’t get what he needed. From a CNN interview:
“And they did nothing. They had him hospitalized for four days, and then they let him go. How are you going to let someone leave a psychological center after four days when he is saying that he is hearing voices?”
Esteban lived in Anchorage, AK from 2014 to 2016. Court records that the DailyBeast pulled show that he has a criminal record there for minor driving infractions, including driving with a broken taillight and for driving without insurance.
In January 2016, Santiago was charged with two misdemeanor crimes: fourth-degree assault and damage of property over $50.