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Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting Suspect Due In Court


NewsHubFORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Iraq war veteran accused of fatally shooting five people and wounding six at a crowded Florida airport baggage claim is due for his first court appearance.
Esteban Santiago is scheduled to be in Fort Lauderdale federal court Monday morning. The 26-year-old from Anchorage, Alaska, faces airport violence and firearms charges that could mean the death penalty if he’s convicted.
The initial hearing Monday is likely to focus on ensuring Santiago has a lawyer and setting future dates. Santiago has been held without bail since his arrest after Friday’s shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
The FBI has says Santiago flew on a one-way ticket from Alaska to Florida with a handgun in his checked bag. Agents say he retrieved the gun and emerged from an airport bathroom firing.
The motive is still unclear, but Santiago allegedly confessed to planning the airport attack and surveillance video obtained by TMZ will likely be key evidence in the case.
The footage shows Santiago walking through the airport before he reaches into his waistband, pulls out a gun and begins firing. Startled passengers behind him are seen ducking for cover.
“By the time I was laying down, I wasn’t looking anywhere else,” said survivor Annika Lee Dean. “Looking at the carpet and praying to God that my children would have a mother.”
Investigators say Santiago had two magazine clips and fired 15 shots. When it was all over, five people were dead. Among them was 62-year-old Terry Andres of Cape May County, New Jersey who was traveling with his wife Ann who watched it all unfold.
Another six people were left injured.
A law enforcement source tells CBS News the 9mm handgun that Santiago used was the same gun he had when he went to a FBI office in Anchorage, Alaksa in November. He had complained to agents that he was hearing voices and being forced to watch ISIS videos.
Police confiscated Santiago’s gun and had him committed for a mental evaluation for four days. About a month later, police returned the gun to Santiago.
“There is a federal law with regard to having a gun by somebody who is mentally ill, but the law requires that the person be adjudicated mentally ill, which is a difficult standard,” said U. S. Attorney Karen Loeffler.
In Puerto Rico, Santiago’s mother says she spoke with him ten days before the shooting and that he sounded strange.
“I wanted to scream or cry, but since he was so far away, I could not do anything,” Elizabeth Ruiz said.
FBI agents have said they have uncovered no evidence yet linking Santiago to international terrorism. They say he apparently chose the Fort Lauderdale airport at random.
(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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