By DAVID FISCHER, Associated Press
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A gunman opened fire in the baggage claim area at the Fort Lauderdale airport Friday, killing five people and wounding eight before being taken into custody, officials said. The attack sent panicked passengers running out of the terminal and onto the tarmac.
Authorities gave no details on a possible motive for the shooting inside Terminal 2, which serves Delta Air Lines and Air Canada.
“People started kind of screaming and trying to get out of any door they could or hide under the chairs,” a witness, Mark Lea, told MSNBC. “He just kind of continued coming in, just randomly shooting at people, no rhyme or reason to it.”
Lee said the gunman said nothing as he “went up and down the carousels of the baggage claim, shooting through luggage to get at people that were hiding.”
Then the gunman threw down his weapon and lay spread-eagle on the ground until he was taken into custody, Lea said.
Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida identified the gunman as Esteban Santiago and said that he was carrying a military ID, but that it was unclear whether it was his.
“We don’t know a motive at this point,” Nelson said. “This could well be someone who is mentally deranged, or in fact it could be someone who had a much more sinister motive that we have to worry about every day, and that is terrorism. We can’t conclude that.”
The airport suspended operations as law enforcement authorities rushed to the scene and emergency medical workers treated at least one bleeding victim on the tarmac.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the shooting by his Homeland Security adviser, the White House.
Video posted on Instagram appeared to show several people wounded in the baggage claim area of the terminal. One person appeared to be lying in a pool of blood with a head wound.
Paramedics could be seen treating a bleeding victim outside the airport. Hundreds of people stood on the tarmac as an ambulance drove by.
Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief told CNN authorities that a lone shooter was responsible for the attack and had been taken into custody.
Jillian Saunders, from Palm Beach, Florida, told The Associated Press via Twitter that she was watching the activity on the tarmac from a plane scheduled to fly to Los Angeles.
“Everything you see on the news is happening outside my window,” she said. “I am luckily on the plane and they said we are right now the safest people at the airport.”
Associated Press writers Freida Frisaro and Adriana Gomez-Licon in Miami contributed to this report.