At least five people were killed and eight others injured on Saturday when a gunman opened fire at US’ Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, the latest mass shooting incident to rock the country.
The Sheriff’s office said five people were dead and eight had been taken to a hospital.
The shooting took place in Terminal 2 in the baggage claim area, outside the TSA checkpoint, police said. Air Canada and Delta Airlines operate out of Terminal 2.
People were corralled onto the tarmac and paramedics were at the scene, police said.
All services at the airport have been temporarily suspended, the airport tweeted.
Hundreds of people were standing on the tarmac as dozens of police cars and ambulances rushed to the scene.
Police received a call just before 1300 local time (2330 IST) about shots fired at Terminal Drive.
Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said in a tweet, “I’m at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. Shots have been fired. Everyone is running.”
A Miami TV station tweeted footage claiming to be from inside the baggage terminal. The video shows several injured people lying on the floor as witnesses shout for medical help.
Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief told CNN that the shooter acted alone and that there is no evidence of a partner.
“At this time we do not have a motive, but we are actively investigating that,” she said.
Florida Governor Rick Scott wrote on social media, “I am on my way to Fort Lauderdale International Airport to be briefed by law enforcement.”
“The shooter was very skinny. He seemed to be very young… He was just letting himself be dragged by the police.
It was scary,” an eyewitness said.
More than 325 departure and 325 arrival flights come in and out of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in a day, according to the airport’s website. Over 73,000 travellers are at the airport on a daily basis.
According to Pentagon, suspect Santiago was recipient of several medals including one ‘Global War on Terrorism Service Medal’.
Police said he arrived at the airport with a checked gun. After he claimed his bag, he took the gun from bag. Thereafter, he went into the bathroom to load it.
Santiago started shooting as he came out of the bathroom.
His brother was quoted as saying in the local press that Santiago was receiving psychological treatment while living in Alaska.
“Our hearts ache for those killed in this senseless attack, and we pray for the swift recovery of all who were wounded. No words can replace the loss of loved ones. No moments of silence can quiet the voices across America calling for action,” said Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority Leader.