Fri, Jan 6, 2017

At Least Five People Are Dead In A Shooting At Fort Lauderdale Airport

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Law enforcement personnel respond to the shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

At least five people are dead and eight others injured after a person with a gun opened fire at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, officials said.

A suspect is in custody, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office added, saying it received the initial call at 12:55 p.m. local time. Several of the injured were transported to local hospitals including Broward Health.

US Senator Bill Nelson told MSNBC that the suspected shooter was carrying a military ID — though it’s unsure if it’s his, or authentic — bearing the name Esteban Santiago, born in March 1990. Nelson didn’t say how he got that identification.

“The shooter in custody, he is unharmed, no law enforcement fired any shots, the subject is being interviewed by a team of FBI agents and Broward County homicide detectives,” said Sheriff Scott Israel. “The suspect was arrested without incident.”

People run on the tarmac at after a shooter opened fire.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

“If we do uncover at some time this was related to some type of terrorist activity then the FBI will have complete command of this and we’ll move forward the investigation,” Israel said. “At this point it looks like he acted alone.”

He would not say what type of weapon was used in the “horrific incident.”

Chip LaMarca, A Broward County Commissioner, said on Facebook that the suspect was on a flight and checked a gun in his baggage. “The shooter was a passenger on a Canadian flight with a checked gun,” he wrote. “He claimed his bag and took the gun from baggage and went into the bathroom to load it. Came out shooting people in baggage claim. There were 13 total shot, 5 dead, 8 transported to hospital.”

President-elect Donald Trump tweeted, “Monitoring the terrible situation in Florida. Just spoke to Governor Scott. Thoughts and prayers for all. Stay safe!”

Several images and videos on social media showed people injured and bleeding in what appears to be a baggage claim and outdoor area. The airport’s Twitter account said there’s an “ongoing incident in Terminal 2, Baggage Claim.” All flights have been grounded.

The international airport would remain shut down until further notice, authorities said, as they continued to clear the area and investigate the incident.

The deadly shooting also prompted authorities to shut down the nearby port from all inbound vehicles while local and federal investigators look into the shooting, officials said.

Port Everglades, located about four miles north of the airport, would only allow outgoing vehicles from the area, Michael Udine, a Broward County commissioner announced on Facebook.

Ships will be allowed to move in and out of the port, he said, though they may be delayed.

Taimy Alvarez / ZUMAPRESS.com

“Our community extends its thoughts, prayers, and support to the victims and their families,” Fort Lauderdale Mayor John Seiler said.

CNN reported that the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are also on the scene.

Several hours after the initial incident, people were seen frantically running around the tarmac around 2:37 pm local time. The Transportation Security Administration initially said there was an active shooter in the airport, but Israel said that was not the case. “There was no shooting anyplace else,” Israel said. “It seems like someone got injured evacuating.”

Instagram: @prenteye

Andrea Ruiz, whose mother works at the airport for Air Canada, which is based in the terminal, told BuzzFeed News about the second wave of confusion that, “SWAT and police ran into parking garage in front of Terminal 2. My mother and coworkers are back in office hiding. No one knows what is happening…something else has happened.”

Ruiz said her mother “said she heard the gunshots and everyone ran into hiding where they could find. Her and her co-workers hid in their office. They’re currently busy calming passengers and themselves,” she added.

Ruiz tweeted this screengrab of her conversation with her mother:

Benoit Riberdy told BuzzFeed News that he was getting ready to board and Air Canada flight from Terminal 2 when he and other passengers were rushed back into the airport for shelter. He did not see or hear anything related to the shooting, only “people in extreme panic.”

Benoit Riberdy

Air Canada said in a statement, “We are deeply saddened by this tragic event…Thankfully all our customers and employees are reported accounted for and safe. Passengers on our departing flights were safely evacuated on the tarmac and arriving flights 1602 from YUL and 1622 from YYZ are being held off gate for the time being.”

Gene Messina posted pictures and video from the airport on Instagram and described the situation: “I got off the plane and I saw people running and screaming. At first I was in shock but when I saw tsa agents running, I booked.” He also published this video from the tarmac:

Instagram: @gmessina121

Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary for President George W. Bush, was apparently at the airport at the time of the shooting and was one of the first people to tweet about it, citing police as saying there were several victims and one shooter.

Reporting by Tamerra Griffin, Tasneem Nashrulla, and Mary Ann Georgantopoulos in New York and Salvador Hernandez in Los Angeles.


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