FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — 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 and emergency medical workers treated at least one bleeding victim on the tarmac.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office cited multiple deaths on its Twitter account, and Gov. Rick Scott’s office also confirmed the shooting, but said authorities hadn’t confirmed the number of fatalities, injuries or the motive. Scott was headed to the airport for a briefing by law enforcement.
Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief told CNN authorities that a lone shooter was responsible for the attack and had been taken into custody.
“We have an active crime scene investigation involving terminal 2,” she said.
Jillian Saunders, from Palm Beach, Florida, told The Associated Press in direct Twitter messages that she was watching the activity from the tarmac in a plane scheduled to fly to Los Angeles.
Airport officials said on the airport’s website that it was suspending flights. Earlier in the day, the Federal Aviation Administration regulated the pace of flights because of heavy volume after morning fog. According to tracking service FlightAware, about 60 flights to and from Fort Lauderdale were delayed and fewer than a dozen canceled before the shooting.
The suspect in the deadly shooting used a gun that he had stored in his checked luggage, raising questions about airport security and whether safety officials need to change the current rules.
Authorities say 26-year-old Esteban Santiago retrieved his gun from his bag on the carousel, loaded it in a bathroom of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, then emerged shooting in the baggage-claim area, killing five people and wounding eight.
Transportation Security Administration rules prohibit guns in carry-on bags, but they allow passengers to ship guns if they are unloaded, put in a hard-sided, locked container that only the owner has the ability to unlock, and placed in a checked bag.
A TSA spokesman declined to comment on whether Friday’s shooting would lead to a review of those rules.
The FBI has now filed criminal charges against Esteban Santiago for interfering with operations at an international airport. As far as criminal charges for those killed and wounded, we’re told those are to come. His first court appearance is set for Monday.