FORT LAUDERDALE >> Whereas investigators attempt to determine the motive of an Iraq struggle veteran accused of killing 5 vacationers and wounding six others at a busy worldwide airport in Florida, the suspected gunman was charged and will face the dying penalty if convicted.
Esteban Santiago, 26, was charged with an act of violence at a world airport leading to demise — which carries a most punishment of execution — and weapons expenses.
Santiago advised investigators that he deliberate the assault, shopping for a one-means ticket to the Fort Lauderdale airport, a federal grievance stated. Authorities don’t know why he selected his goal and haven’t dominated out terrorism.
“As we speak’s costs symbolize the gravity of the state of affairs and mirror the dedication of federal, state and native regulation enforcement personnel to repeatedly shield the group and prosecute those that goal our residents and guests,” U.S Lawyer Wifredo Ferrer stated.
Authorities stated throughout a information convention that that they had interviewed roughly one hundred seventy five individuals, together with a prolonged interrogation with a cooperative Santiago, who’s a former Nationwide Guard soldier from Alaska. Flights had resumed on the Fort Lauderdale airport after the bloodshed, although the terminal the place the capturing occurred remained closed.
FBI Agent George Piro stated Santiago spoke to investigators for a number of hours after he opened hearth with a 9mm semi-automated handgun that he seems to have legally checked on a flight from Alaska.
“Indications are that he got here right here to hold out this horrific assault,” Piro stated. “We’ve got not recognized any triggers that may have triggered this assault. We’re pursuing all angles on what prompted him to hold out this horrific assault.”
Investigators are combing by means of social media and different info to find out Santiago’s motive, and it’s too early to say whether or not terrorism performed a task, Piro stated. In November, Santiago had walked into an FBI subject workplace in Alaska saying the U.S. authorities was controlling his thoughts and forcing him to observe Islamic State group movies, authorities stated.
“He was a stroll-in grievance. That is one thing that occurs at FBI workplaces across the nation every single day,” FBI agent Marlin Ritzman stated.
Santiago had a loaded journal on him, however had left a gun in his car, alongside together with his new child baby, authorities stated. Officers seized the weapon and native officers took him to get a psychological well being analysis. His girlfriend picked up the kid.
On Dec. eight, the gun was returned to Santiago. Authorities wouldn’t say if it was the identical gun used within the airport assault.
U.S. Lawyer Karen Loeffler stated Santiago would have been capable of legally possess a gun as a result of he had not been judged mentally sick, which is a better normal than having an analysis.
Santiago had not been positioned on the U.S. no-fly listing and seems to have acted alone, authorities stated.