Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooter Says He Was Inspired By ISIS
The suspect accused of fatally shooting five people and wounding six others at an airport in Fort Lauderdale has been ordered held without bond until his trial hearing.
New details about the investigation were also revealed Tuesday. During the hearing, FBI agent Michael Ferlazzo confirmed the 9mm Walther handgun used during the Jan. 6th shooting is the same weapon Anchorage, Alaska, police seized and later returned to Esteban Santiago last year.
Ferlazzo also said Santiago, 26, mentioned after the shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport that he was under government mind control. But later in the interview Santiago claimed to have been inspired by Islamic State-related chatrooms and websites.
It is not clear whether the FBI has been able to corroborate any terror-related claims yet.
Santiago’s arraignment hearing has been set for Jan. 30 by U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow. Santiago was ordered to be kept in custody until then as a risk of flight and a danger to the community. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Del Toro said his actions at the airport were a clear representation of his threat to the community.
If convicted of federal airport violence and firearms charges that resulted in death, Santiago could get the death penalty. Robert Berube, Santiago’s public defender, said he wouldn’t contest the pretrial detention order.
According to investigators, Santiago legally checked a gun box containing the weapon and ammunition as luggage for his flight. He then retrieved it at the Fort Lauderdale airport and went into the bathroom. While in the bathroom he loaded the gun and came out firing randomly. After using all 15 bullets he then laid down on the floor.
The hearing focused on Ferlazzo’s testimony, in which he said Santiago visited a gun range late last year before booking the one-way ticket from Alaska to Fort Lauderdale. It was also documented that Santiago visited the FBI office in Anchorage last year complaining about hearing voices and alleged CIA mind control. Anchorage police temporarily seized his gun and Santiago was briefly sent to a mental hospital.
He was given anti-anxiety medications but no prescriptions for drugs that would treat a series mental condition. He was released after five days.
During his interviews he first said he did it because of government mind control, but then gave up that he visited chatrooms and internet sites frequented by Islamic State terror groups or those inspired by it.