The Fort Lauderdale shooter might face the death penalty for killing five people and seriously injuring six more when he opened fire on civilians at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on January 6.
According to Fox News, Esteban Santiago, a former security guard from Anchorage, Alaska, might face the death penalty if he’s found guilty for gunning down several people.
According to authorities, the Fort Lauderdale shooter was suffering from mental health issues at the time of the incident.
CNN said that Santiago was a member of the Alaska Army National Guard when he started suffering from mental health problems. According to their report, Santiago visited an FBI office in Alaska and asked to speak with agents.
When the Fort Lauderdale shooter met with FBI agents Santiago told them that he has been hearing voices and that a U.S. intelligence agency was instructing him to watch videos of the terrorist group ISIS.
Santiago is said to have served a tour in Iraq and was even awarded a combat action badge for his services there. But according to his relatives, when he came back, something about him wasn’t right anymore.
Maria Ruiz Rivera, the Fort Lauderdale shooter’s aunt, spoke with reporters via a phone call and she told them the condition of her nephew’s state of mind after he returned from his tour of duty.
Rivera said in Spanish, “His mind was not right. He seemed normal at times, but other times he seemed lost. He changed.”
The FBI agent in charge of investigating the Fort Lauderdale shooter’s actions spoke with reporters and said that Santiago’s sole intention was to attack civilians in the airport. George Piro, the special agent in charge in Miami, said that Santiago didn’t bring anything else with him except his gun, which he checked in with his luggage.
Despite Santiago’s worsening mental state Piro is not ruling out terrorism as the Fort Lauderdale shooter’s primary motive for attacking the people at the airport.
Santiago was taken into custody by authorities from Broward County and Sheriff Scott Israel said that the Fort Lauderdale shooter didn’t show any signs of aggression when he was being arrested.
Israel told reporters that it’s too early to conclude what Santiago’s true motive was for gunning down civilians at the airport since the investigation is still in its early stages. President Barack Obama reiterated Israel’s statement telling CNN that as soon as he gets all the details from the authorities, only then will he confirm what Santiago’s motive was for opening fire at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport.
According to the New York Daily News, most of the victims of the Fort Lauderdale shooter were vacationers and some of them were even in Florida to celebrate a wedding anniversary.
Shirley Timmons was traveling with her husband, Steve, to Florida to celebrate their 51 wedding anniversary. According to the NY Daily News, they were supposed to board a cruise ship from Florida where they will meet up with other relatives.
But what was supposed to be a joyous event turned into a horrific nightmare when the Fort Lauderdale shooter pulled out his gun and started shooting people waiting for their luggage at Terminal 2. Shirley Timmons was one of the unfortunate victims.
Timmons’ husband is fighting for his life right now. Steve was shot in the face and is now comatose according to their grandson.
Another victim of the Fort Lauderdale shooter was Terry Andres, 62, who was also in Florida for a vacation with his wife, Ann.
Terry’s daughter, Ryan, spoke with reporters and told them that when the shooting started her mother was able to flee from the area unharmed. Unfortunately, though, when she asked about her dad her mother told her that Terry got shot during the incident and didn’t survive.
[Featured image by Wilfredo Lee/AP Images]