Tuesday 19 September 2017

Gunman held after killing five in rampage at Florida airport

Police officers help people seeking cover at Fort Lauderdale airport in Florida yesterday after a gunman opened fire in the baggage area. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Police officers help people seeking cover at Fort Lauderdale airport in Florida yesterday after a gunman opened fire in the baggage area. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Harriet Alexander New York

At least five people were killed and 13 injured after a gunman carrying military identification opened fire in the baggage area of Fort Lauderdale airport in Florida yesterday.

Esteban Santiago, named by Florida senator Bill Nelson as the gunman, was taken into custody. Mr Nelson said the 26-year-old was carrying military ID.

Scott Israel, a sheriff, said: "We have the shooter in custody. He is unharmed. No law enforcement fired any shots."

Officials said the man, who was wearing a 'Star Wars' T-shirt, had come off a Canadian Air flight. He checked in his weapon and then reclaimed it in the baggage area. He went to load the weapon in the lavatory area and then began the attack, they said.

The shooting happened around 1pm local time, as the busy airport, which is a major hub between the United States, Europe and the Caribbean, was packed with tourists.

The airport remained tense in the hours after the shooting, with reports of further shots heard in other parts of the airport. Hundreds of people were seen running for shelter in live television pictures amid unconfirmed witness reports of a second gunman.

Witnesses told NBC Miami that the gunman silently approached the baggage area and started firing. He did not appear to be targeting anyone in particular, "popping off bullets at random".

Mark Lea, a 53-year-old financial adviser from Minneapolis, who was in baggage claim area, said: "I was dodging bullets and trying to help people get out of the way. At first we thought it was firecrackers. Everyone started screaming and running.

"The shooter made his way down through the baggage claim area. He had what looked like a 9mm and emptied his entire clip. People were trying to run."

Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary, was in the airport at the time. "Everyone is running," he tweeted. Later, he added: "All seems calm now, but the police aren't letting anyone out of the airport - at least, not where I am."

Video posted on Instagram appeared to show several people wounded in the baggage claim area of the terminal. One person was lying in a pool of blood with a head wound.

President-elect Donald Trump said he was following events. "Monitoring the terrible situation in Florida. Just spoke to Governor Scott. Thoughts and prayers for all. Stay safe!" (© Daily Telegraph London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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