Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting: How Did Esteban Santiago Get Through Security With A Gun In His Checked Luggage?

On Friday afternoon, a shooting broke out at the Fort Lauderdale airport, and as of this writing, five people have been confirmed dead while 13 others have been injured. The gunman has been identified as Esteban Santiago, and it has now been revealed that he traveled on multiple planes before arriving in Florida. It has been revealed that the weapons he used were in his checked baggage. Many are wondering how he was allowed to have guns in his luggage, but it seems as if it is perfectly legal.

As reported by CNN, the shooting took place at Fort Lauderdale International Airport, which led to mass chaos among passengers, employees, and security. Throughout the afternoon, more news started coming out, and it was revealed that Esteban Santiago actually came in on an Air Canada flight and had the gun in his checked luggage.

CBS Miami is reporting that the alleged shooter’s full name is Esteban Santiago-Ruiz.

Chip LaMarca is the Broward County Commissioner, and he wrote on Facebook that Santiago landed at the Fort Lauderdale airport on a flight inbound from Alaska. A handgun was checked in his luggage when boarding his flight, and he simply retrieved the bag at the baggage claim upon landing at Terminal 2 in the airport.

From there, Santiago went into a nearby restroom, took the gun out of his checked luggage, loaded it, came out and opened fire. Law enforcement officers have confirmed this report from LaMarca, according to The Daily Beast.

Believe it or not, what Santiago did was completely and perfectly legal. Well, it is legal as far as the actions he took to get the gun onto the plane in his checked baggage without knowing if the gun was obtained or owned legally. It is expected that info will be released once the investigation continues forward.

According to the official website for Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the full instructions for the transportation of firearms and ammunition is clearly explained.

“You may transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage only. Declare the firearm and/or ammunition to the airline when checking your bag at the ticket counter. The container must completely secure the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be easily opened are not permitted. Be aware that the container the firearm was in when purchased may not adequately secure the firearm when it is transported in checked baggage.”

From there, the TSA gives explicit details on transporting a firearm with you on an airplane, and it must always be in your checked baggage. All “Firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins” must be transported in checked baggage as well and are not allowed in carry-on bags.

No matter what the case may be, if Esteban Santiago had the proper credentials, an ID, the certification for the weapons, then he was able to secure it in his checked baggage. Not much else is known about the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport, and authorities have even said there is no known motive yet, but Santiago did follow the proper guidelines for traveling with his weapon.

Not long after the shooting began, the gunman was taken into custody without further incident.

As of 4:15 p.m. ET, the shooting is still an active investigation, but once news got out about Santiago carrying the gun with him in his checked baggage, new conversations began. Now, many are already calling for changes to be made to TSA rules and regulations, but that may be a long way off.

There is still a lot of information that has not been revealed about the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport on Friday afternoon, and it will likely continue to come out over the weekend. That includes more on gunman Esteban Santiago, the victims, and how things are being handled by law enforcement. One of the biggest topics now will be allowing guns in checked luggage on airplanes and if that law should be changed.

[Featured Image by Jon Raedle/Getty Images]