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5 dead, 8 injured in shooting at Fort Lauderdale airport

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A gunman opened fire in a baggage claim area at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport Friday, killing five people, injuring eight and sending terrified passengers running through the airport before police grabbed the suspect unharmed, according to law enforcement authorities.
Witnesses said the male shooter emptied several magazines of bullets, then dropped to the floor spread-eagled to await arrest.
 He was taken into custody without incident by a Broward County sheriff's deputy, according to Sheriff Scott Israel. “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.” Chip LaMarca, a Broward County commissioner, was briefed on the airport shooting by the Broward Sheriff’s office.
 On his Twitter account, he said the shooter arrived in Fort Lauderdale aboard a flight with a gun in a checked bag. "He claimed his bag and took the gun from baggage and went into the bathroom to load it. Came out shooting people in baggage claim," LaMarca tweeted. A federal law enforcement official, who is not authorized to comment publicly on the case, identified the suspect as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, said earlier that the gunman was carrying a military ID in that name. Santiago arrived in Fort Lauderdale early Friday aboard a Delta flight that originated Thursday in Anchorage and passed through Minneapolis, the federal official said Friday.
 The official, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said the suspect apparently retrieved a handgun from his checked luggage and loaded it before launching an indiscriminate assault.

 In November, the official said, the suspect appeared unannounced in the FBI offices in Anchorage, complaining that the Islamic State had gained control of his mind and the terror group was urging him to fight on its behalf.
The FBI conducted a background check, learning of his military record which included service in Iraq, but found no connection to terror groups. Determining that the man apparently needed psychiatric care, the FBI alerted local law enforcement and turned him over to their custody for a medical referral. It is not clear whether Santiago did get treatment following that incident.

The official said Santiago worked in Anchorage in a security-related job, has a girlfriend there and a child. Santiago's aunt, Maria Ruiz, who lives in Union City, N.J., said that her nephew is an Army veteran who served two years in Iraq and came back acting strangely.
 However, she said that he “was happy with the kid” after the birth of his child last year. “I don’t know why this happened,” she said during an interview at her home Friday afternoon. Sheriff Israel said authorities had not established a motive for the shooting and that it was too early to declare it a terrorist act. "At this point, it looks like he acted alone," Israel told reporters. He called the shootings a "horrific, horrific act."