Ft. Lauderdale shooter charged and facing possible death sentence
Police have officially charged Esteban Santiago, the gunman responsible for killing five travelers and wounding six others, at a Fort Lauderdale airport. A motive remains unclear but law enforcement have not ruled out terrorism.
Law enforcement has charged Esteban Santiago with act of violence at an international airport resulting in death – which carries a maximum punishment of execution.
Santiago has been traced back to Alaska, where he previously served in the Alaska National Guard and to New Jersey. Police in Alaska said they had returned a handgun to the Florida airport shooting suspect which was temporarily taken from him when he underwent a mental evaluation late last year.
Esteban told FBI agents in Alaska that the government was controlling his mind and was forcing him to watch Islamic State group videos, a law enforcement official said.
Authorities are examining writings from Santiago, which appear to indicate a period of planning. Law enforcement have interviewed nearly 175 people. Santiago spoke to investigators for several hours after he opened fire with a Walther 9mm semi-automatic handgun that he appears to have legally checked on a flight from Alaska. The federal complaint alleges that Esteban carried two magazines and emptied both them, firing 15 rounds, before police arrested him.