US airport gunman Esteban Santiago.The man who opened fire at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport has been identified as New Jersey-born Esteban Santiago.
Law enforcement sources said the 26-year-old acted alone when he opened fire in the baggage claim area of the airport, killing five people and injuring eight.
Federal sources told NBC News the shootings did not appear to be an act of terrorism, and both federal and family sources said Santiago had some mental health issues.
Santiago was carrying a military ID when he was arrested, uninjured, at the airport.
Esteban lived in Alaska, moving there two years ago for work, where he was employed in security, according to NBC. It is believed he lives there with a girlfriend and a young child.
He reportedly took Delta flight 1088 from Anchorage, Alaska, to Minneapolis on Thursday night, before taking Delta flight 2182 to Fort Lauderdale on Friday morning.
Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca said the shooter had carried the gun in his checked baggage.
“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,” La Marca wrote on Facebook.
Witnesses said he fired indiscriminately, throwing the gun down after he ran out of ammunition and then lying face down on the ground as he waited for officers to arrest him.
He is being questioned by a team of FBI agents and sheriff’s deputies. Authorities said it was too early to determine a motive.
Santiago’s brother, Bryan Santiago, spoke with NBC News over the phone from Puerto Rico Friday afternoon.
He said Esteban was born in New Jersey but moved to Penuela, Puerto Rico, where Bryan and their mother still live. Esteban served in the National Guard in Puerto Rico for six years, and went to Iraq for about a year, Bryan said.
“He was pro-America,” Bryan said.
Santiago’s aunt, Maria Ruiz, told reporters in New Jersey that Esteban had acted strangely after returning from Iraq and had been hospitalised for mental health issues after his tour.
“He lost his mind,” Ruiz told nj南京夜网, in Spanish.
However, she also said that her nephew had been “happy with the kid” after the birth of his baby boy last year and appeared to be doing well.
Her husband, Hernan Rivera, said he had “no idea” why Santiago might have opened fire in the Florida airport.
“Only thing I could tell you was when he came out of Iraq, he wasn’t feeling too good,” Rivera said.
A spokeswoman for the Alaska National Guard confirmed to NBC News that Esteban Santiago joined the Puerto Rico National Guard in December 2007, and deployed to Iraq from April 23, 2010 to February 19, 2011.
He was then in the Army Reserves before joining the Alaska Army National Guard on November 21, 2014. He received a general discharge from the Alaska Army National Guard on August 16, 2016, for unsatisfactory performance, the spokeswoman said.
Esteban Santiago was a combat engineer and his rank was private first class when he was discharged.
His brother also confirmed that Esteban owned a handgun.
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