5 killed, 8 hospitalized in shooting at Fort Lauderdale airport; - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

5 killed, 8 hospitalized in shooting at Fort Lauderdale airport; gunman in custody

Law enforcement officers stand guard at Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Source: AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) Law enforcement officers stand guard at Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Source: AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Esteban Santiago has been identified as the suspect who opened fire at  the Fort Lauderdale airport. (Source: Twitter) Esteban Santiago has been identified as the suspect who opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale airport. (Source: Twitter)
A large group of people seen evacuating the Fort Lauderdale, FL, airport. (Source:  WSVN) A large group of people seen evacuating the Fort Lauderdale, FL, airport. (Source: WSVN)
People hide at a pole at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, after a gunman opened fire in the baggage claim area at the airport.  (AP Photo/Julie Brown) People hide at a pole at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, after a gunman opened fire in the baggage claim area at the airport. (AP Photo/Julie Brown)
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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (RNN) - Five people are dead, eight are hospitalized and a suspect is in custody after a shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Officials have identified the alleged shooter as Esteban Santiago, 26, who carried a military ID. Multiple news sources report he was born in New Jersey. He boarded the plane in Alaska, where his family said he had been living.

He flew through Minneapolis before arriving in Fort Lauderdale on Friday. Police have not determined a motive or why he was in South Florida. 

"We have not ruled out terrorism and will pursue every angle to determine the motive behind the attack," George Piro, special agent in charge at teh FBI Miami Field Office, said. 

CBS tweeted a photo they claimed was believed to be the the one used in the airport shooting.

No law enforcement fired any shots in taking him into custody, Broward Co. Sheriff Scott Israel said during a news conference.

The suspect took a weapon out of a checked bag, loaded it in a bathroom and returned to the scene where he opened fire. He declared the gun in his checked bag, and carried it legally, CNN reported. Unloaded firearms and ammo may be transported in checked baggage, but must be secured in locked, hard-sided containers, the TSA reported. Magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins also may be carried in checked luggage.

Bryan Santiago, the brother of Esteban Santiago, told the Associated Press that the suspect had received psychological treatment in Alaska. Bryan Santiago did not know the nature of the treatment.

Citing law enforcement officials, the Associated Press reported Santiago had told the FBI the government was controlling his mind and that he had been forced to watch ISIS videos. 

CNN reported that Santiago got into an altercation with some passengers on the plane.

"I didn't hear the initial shots," a witness said. "I heard the commotion and heard the people. I thought maybe just a fight or something had broken out ..."

The witness, who utilizes a wheelchair,  said his mother called asking what was going on.

"Not five minutes later people came running down the hall screaming gun, gunman was coming." he said. "So everybody ran. Luggage flying, purses flying. I can't move very fast ... so I got up and and started hobbling."

Another witness heard the shots and knew immediately that something was wrong.

"I was in line waiting, just about to step through the screening area when he heard the shots and there were people running behind us and screaming," Nigel Nelson said. "Security personnel screaming, run, run, run, run, run, so we ran."

He said flight attendants let them out onto the tarmac where they waiting for about an hour until they got an update on what was going on.

About two hours after the suspect surrendered, unsubstantiated reports of a second gunman panicked hundreds of passengers and employees who had been evacuated to the tarmac and others still in the terminal. Israel said there was no second shooter and no law enforcement had reported additional shots fired.

Passenger Erik Whiteside said most of the people on his flight were at the baggage claim when the shooting started, but he was delayed because he had small children.

He rounded a corner and heard shots.

"We ran out to the tarmac and hid behind some luggage carts," he told CNN.

Whiteside said officials let people back into the terminal, and then he saw armed personnel running about 20 minutes later. People started running in the opposite direction.

Deputies first responded to a call of shots fired at 12:55 p.m. ET. The Broward Sheriff's office tweeted that the upper level of the airport re-opened at about 2 p.m. ET. About a half-hour later panic erupted when people said they heard more shots, including a witness talking live to CNN.

CNN broadcast live video of people running wildly out of the terminal and across the tarmac. The Fort Lauderdale mayor called for calm and said that was part of the evacuation procedure.

An early tweet from the scene showed a victim bleeding profusely.

Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary to President George W. Bush, was at the airport and was among the first to tweet about the incident. At the time, officials reported five injured.

The airport is scheduled to reopen at 5 a.m. Saturday. 

It's the first fatal shooting at a major airport since Nov. 15, 2016 at Oklahoma's Will Rogers World Airport when Lloyd Dean Buie, 45, shot and killed the father of an NFL player.

Buie perched in a nearby parking deck before shooting Michael Winchester from nearly 50 yards away. Police found the shooter dead in a pick-up truck with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Winchester was an employee at Southwest Airlines. Buie resigned from the company in April 2015, but it is unclear if that was his motive. He had filed for bankruptcy in September 2016.

Winchester’s son, James, is a long snapper for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Delta CEO Ed Bastian extended condolences.

"The thoughts and prayers of the entire Delta family are with the people of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County and those involved in the tragic events today," he said. He thanked the first responders and the Delta employees who are working to re-accommodate customers.

The airport will remain closed until further notice.

Copyright 2017 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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