Five Dead In Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting
MIAMI, Jan 7 (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 07th Jan, 2017 ) - A gunman opened fire Friday at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport, a major tourist hub in Florida, killing five people and injuring eight, and sending panicked travelers fleeing for safety.
Broward County Sheriff's office tweeted that a suspect was in custody following the shooting that broke out around midday, shutting down the international airport. The Sheriff's office said five people were dead and eight had been taken to an area hospital.
There was no immediate indication of a motive for the shooting, in a country where gun violence is widespread due to the ready availability of firearms. Florida Senator Bill Nelson said the gunman had been identified as Esteban Santiago.
"He had a military ID, we don't know if it is current, but every time you get a bunch of people like at baggage claim or like outside of TSA (Transportation Security Administration) where you're going to security or lines at the ticket counter, it's a soft target," the senator told CNN.
The Broward County Sheriff's office said it had received "unconfirmed reports of addt'l shots fired on airport property." Mayor Barbara Sharief said earlier that the gunman appeared to have acted alone.
"He was a lone shooter, and we have no evidence at this time that he was acting with anyone else. He is in custody, and we are currently investigating," Sharief told CNN. Witness John Schlicher told Fox news that as he retrieved his baggage, "I heard the first shot.
As I did, the person right next to me fell to the ground... It was very surreal." The shooter "was holding a handgun. He was firing into the crowd. Everyone was standing there waiting for the luggage," he said.
Several passengers were huddled inside a supply closet at the airport, while awaiting the all-clear. "We were all here in Terminal 2 at Delta when the shooting started," one of them, identified only as Duane, told CNN by telephone.
"Everybody just scattered. It was mass hysteria," he said. Fort Lauderdale is a major tourist hub and beach resort in the greater Miami area, and a main starting point for travel and cruises to the Caribbean.
The airport said the incident broke out in the baggage claim area of Terminal 2. "All services are temporarily suspended at #FLL. Please contact your air carrier about your flight information," it tweeted.