Sunday 30 April 2017

US website release video of Florida airport shooting suspect pulling gun in front of shocked passengers

Warning: Graphic scenes

Esteban Santiago Picture: PA
Esteban Santiago Picture: PA
Sole suspect Esteban Santiago is taken into police custodysurvived Photo: Jim Rassol/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP
Law enforcement officers move in to verify the identity of people in this field just outside the airport perimeter following a shooting incident at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale (Photo: Reuters)
People exit the airport perimeter following a shooting incident at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. January 6, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity
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
A shooting victim arrives at Broward Health Trauma Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Authorities say a lone shooter opened fire at the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, international airport Friday, killing "multiple" people before he was taken into custody. The airport suspended operations as law enforcement authorities rushed to the scene. (Taimy Alvarez/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Travelers are evacuated out of the terminal and onto the tarmac after airport shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, U.S., January 6, 2017. REUTERS/Zachary Fagenson
Travelers and airport workers are evacuated out of the terminal after airport shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, U.S., January 6, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity
Travelers are evacuated out of the terminal and onto the tarmac after airport shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, U.S., January 6, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity

Kelli Kennedy

Video of the suspect in the Fort Lauderdale airport rampage calmly drawing a pistol and opening fire in the baggage claim area has been released by a US website.

The recording posted on TMZ's website appears to show Esteban Santiago at the airport on Friday, pulling a handgun from his waistband and then firing several times before running.

Santiago, 26, is accused of killing five travellers and wounding six others in the attack.

He was charged on Saturday with an act of violence at an international airport resulting in death - which carries a maximum punishment of execution - and weapons charges.

His first court hearing is on Monday.

The FBI said it was aware of the video but would not comment on its authenticity. TMZ did not say where it obtained the footage, although it appears to be from a surveillance camera.

Sole suspect Esteban Santiago is taken into police custodysurvived Photo: Jim Rassol/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP
Sole suspect Esteban Santiago is taken into police custodysurvived Photo: Jim Rassol/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP

Santiago told investigators that he planned the attack, buying a one-way ticket to the Fort Lauderdale airport, a federal complaint said.

The authorities do not know why he chose his target and have not ruled out terrorism.

Travelers are evacuated out of the terminal and onto the tarmac after airport shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, U.S., January 6, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity
Travelers are evacuated out of the terminal and onto the tarmac after airport shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, U.S., January 6, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity

The authorities said on Saturday that they had interviewed roughly 175 people, including a lengthy interrogation with a co-operative Santiago, who is a former National Guard soldier from Alaska.

FBI Agent George Piro said Santiago spoke to investigators for several hours after he opened fire with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun that he appears to have legally checked on a flight from Alaska.

"Indications are that he came here to carry out this horrific attack," Mr Piro said.

"We have not identified any triggers that would have caused this attack. We're pursuing all angles on what prompted him to carry out this horrific attack."

People exit the airport perimeter following a shooting incident at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. January 6, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity
People exit the airport perimeter following a shooting incident at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. January 6, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity

Investigators are combing through social media and other information to determine Santiago's motive, and it is too early to say whether terrorism played a role, Mr Piro said.

In November, Santiago had walked into an FBI field office in Alaska saying the US government was controlling his mind and forcing him to watch Islamic State group videos.

Law enforcement officers move in to verify the identity of people in this field just outside the airport perimeter following a shooting incident at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale (Photo: Reuters)
Law enforcement officers move in to verify the identity of people in this field just outside the airport perimeter following a shooting incident at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale (Photo: Reuters)

Santiago had been discharged from the National Guard last year after being demoted for unsatisfactory performance.

Santiago had requested psychological help but received little assistance, his brother Bryan said on Saturday. Esteban had told him in August that he was hearing voices.

Bryan Santiago said: "How is it possible that the federal government knows, they hospitalise him for only four days, and then give him his weapon back?"

His mother declined to comment as she stood inside the screen door of the family home in Puerto Rico, wiping tears from her eyes.

The only thing she said was that Esteban Santiago had been tremendously affected by seeing a bomb explode next to two of his friends when he was around 18 years old while serving in Iraq.

AP

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