Esteban Santiago, a war veteran from Iraq, has been accused of killing five passengers and wounding six more at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport. If he is convicted, he could face the death penalty.
Allegedly Esteban Santiago told FBI investigators that he has long planned for this incident, and that he even bought a one-way ticket knowing that he was going to be arrested immediately after the attack.
On the other hand, he didn’t say why he chose Fort Lauderdale for the place of his massacre.
U.S. attorney Wilfredo Ferrer issued a statement to the media today:
“Today’s charges represent the gravity of the situation and reflect the commitment of federal, state and local law enforcement personnel to continually protect the community and prosecute those who target our residents and visitors.”
It is reported that suspected gunman had a quarrel and an argument with a passenger during his journey from Alaska to Florida. He was traveling from Anchorage to Fort Lauderdale.
Santiago had just one piece of luggage, in which he had been carrying a semi-automatic handgun. Nobody was watching on him; or paid little attention.
Senator Marco Rubio has a different opinion, he’s saying that the altercation on his flight might be cause for Santiago to behave like this:
“I know that was mentioned as a potential cause and they wanted to kind of look into that a little further and get to that point,” Senator Rubio said.
Santiago’s brother told the media and officials that his brother was seeking help for mental problems a few months earlier. He questioned why the institutions didn’t react properly, in this case.
Brian Santiago said that his brother was taken by the police for a mental health evaluation, but was free after just four days.
Esteban Santiago walked into an Alaska FBI office in Anchorage on Nov. 7 saying that his mind was messed up and controlled by U.S. intelligence services.
“Four days for a guy who talked to the FBI [about] those things … that is a serious argument, you know? He goes to the FBI saying that he [was] hearing voices, that the CIA are saying that he needs to join ISIS.”
Special Agent Marlin Ritzman told the media that the FBI didn’t find any links with terrorism during the mental health evaluation.
“During our initial investigation we found no ties to terrorism, He broke no laws when he came into our office making disjointed comments about mind control. ” she said.
Esteban Santiago was raised in Puerto Rico, although he was born in New Jersey. He served from April 2010 to February 2011 in Iraq.
Maybe this is another case of PTSD, but the motives are still unclear at the moment. We don’t know why a war veteran like Santiago went out and killed five innocent people.
Security measures at airports have to be stronger, and we hope that these kind of incidents won’t occur anymore.