Five people were killed and eight others were wounded when a lone shooter opened fire last afternoon at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida. The shooter was taken into custody the Broward County sheriff said.
The shooter, Esteban Santiago, 26, flew from Alaska to Florida with a gun in a checked baggage. After landing he got the firearm and opened fire near a baggage claim in Terminal 2 at around 12:55 pm, according to officials.
"He eventually retrieved a firearm and began indiscriminately shooting," Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters last night. "This cowardly, heinous act resulted in the deaths of five people."
Under federal guidelines passengers are allowed to check unloaded guns in a locked case, and can also carry ammunition in checked baggage.
Santiago was receiving treatment for mental issues according to relatives and federal officials. He was in federal custody and a motive had not been determined, FBI special agent in Charge George Piro of the Miami division said, www.nbcnews.com reported.
"We are looking at all avenues, we have not ruled out terrorism and we will be pursuing every angle," Piro said.
The country's largest mass shooting of the new year caused chaos at the Florida airport with thousands of travelers and airport staff fleeing onto walkways and the tarmac.
In addition to the eight people hurt in the shooting, 37 others received injuries in the chaos that followed.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, it had grounded flights around the country destined for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. However, a number of flights that were landing when the shooting broke out shortly before 1 pm were stranded for hours on the tarmac with passengers on board. Hundreds more people were trapped as security forces swept the airport.
The Transportation Safety Administration warned about the active shooter in the airport on Twitter and called on people inside to shelter in place.