Who is Esteban Santiago? The man suspected of killing five people Friday at Fort Lauderdale’s airport is identified as Esteban Santiago, according to multiple law enforcement officials.
Santiago didn’t resist when he was taken into custody, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said. According to his booking information, Santiago is being held without bond on a murder charge.
The 26-year-old lives in Alaska, where he was a security guard.
Alaska was also the site of his last military assignment. He was a member of the Alaska Army National Guard from November 2014 until August when he was discharged for unsatisfactory performance, a spokeswoman for the Guard said.
In November, Santiago paid a visit to the FBI office in Anchorage, telling agents he was being directed by a US intelligence agency to fight for ISIS, law enforcement sources told CNN. George Piro, the FBI’s special agent in charge, told reporters that Santiago was turned over to local authorities and he voluntarily submitted to a mental health evaluation.
The military said Santiago’s nine years of service in the National Guard included one 10-month tour of Iraq, where he was awarded a combat action badge.
How did he get to Fort Lauderdale?
Piro said Santiago flew from Anchorage to Minneapolis to Fort Lauderdale on Delta.
A lieutenant with the Anchorage Airport Police Department said Santiago had one bag — a handgun case with a pistol inside that he checked.
Authorities do not know why Santiago was in Fort Lauderdale.
What was his motive?
The FBI has not ruled out terrorism, Piro said, but Israel cautioned that it was very early in the investigation and authorities did not know Santiago’s motive.
What was it like at the airport?
Sara Graham, whose family had been vacationing in Fort Lauderdale, wrote on Instagram that they were about 100 feet away from the shooter.
Graham said her brother realized there was gunfire and led her and her mother for safety.
“When we first heard the shots we had no idea what was happening until everyone started running towards exits,” she wrote. “We hid for about 30 minutes and we’re let back inside, under the impression it was all safe.”
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