Fort Lauderdale airport suffers shooting

Dalin McCully, Feature Reporter

Tragedy struck the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on January 7, 2017 when 5 individuals were killed and 6 were injured in a shooting.
The suspect is 26-year-old veteran, Esteban Santiago, who was taken into custody the same day after surrendering to officers at the scene of the crime.
His suspected motives for the attack are unclear, but the case is currently under federal investigation.
Law enforcement in the area reports the gunman had a semi-automatic weapon and shot victims at random near the baggage claim in the airport.
The shooting lasted for little more than a minute, ending with the suspect lying down on the ground after running out of ammunition.
Police in the area arrested Santiago with no shots fired.
Those who were killed have been identified and 30 to 40 additional people were injured during the ensuing panic following the shooting.
The flags of the United States and Florida were ordered to be flown at half-mast throughout the state to honor the victims on January 7 and 8.
The shooting reached national attention immediately with multiple media outlets reviewing the latest coverage. President Trump tweeted shortly after the incident saying, “Monitoring the terrible situation in Florida. Just spoke to Governor Scott. Thoughts and prayers for all. Stay safe!”
On Monday January 9, Santiago arrived in court for the first time since the attack.
At this time he faces several charges including “using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, performing an act of violence against a person at an airport serving international civil aviation that caused serious bodily injury, and causing the death of a person through the use of a firearm,” says CNN.
He possibly faces the death penalty for the latter two charges or life in prison if convicted of the charges.
According to his family he was an accomplished soldier who received ten awards for his military service. However, he was discharged in August 2016 for “unsatisfactory performance.”
Santiago served in a 10 month tour in Iraq from 2010 to 2011, since his return, his aunt reported him to be a changed man who heard voices and had visions regularly.
According to his family he became mentally ill after seeing traumatic scenes of war.
Before the shooting he was undergoing treatment for mental health problems.
These factors will all be considered throughout the duration of his trial and the possible treatment or incarceration he will recieve.
The shooting appears to be premeditated, considering that he began selling his possessions before the incident.
Also, CNN reports that two months before the shooting he willingly went to the FBI in his hometown of Anchorage, Alaska saying that “his mind was being controlled by US intelligence.”
Terrorism has become a commonplace in today’s society. Mass shootings in particular have been occurring more than ever.
Numerous violent attacks linked to terrorism have occurred in the last year with high death tolls.
On this account Sophomore Jacob Kiser, said, “It is sad that terrorist attacks have become so normal in our generation, and we have to live in fear carrying out our everyday lives. They happen everywhere now and it’s hard to feel safe.”
Investigators say Santiago checked a declared firearm before arriving in Fort Lauderdale to load it in the bathroom prior to the attack.
Junior, Elizabeth Lafollete, said “Personally, I am surprised that airports still allow guns and other weapons, because it does not matter who they are; they can still snap at any moment and hurt a lot of people. It is disappointing that people who could have family and friends who could have been doing something important have to keep dying before we learn that these mistakes cannot be made anymore. These things put countless lives in danger, and it’s unnecessary.”
The shooting raises multiple issues including treatment for the mentally ill, gun control, and possible relations to ISIS.
The trial will continue in the upcoming months of 2017; if convicted, Santiago could face life in prison.
Meanwhile the families of the 5 victims are left to cope with immense amounts of grief, and the nation weeps in the wake of the tragedy.

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