26-year-old Iraq veteran Esteban Santiago, the chief suspect in the shooting incident at Fort Lauderdale Airport in which five people died, is likely to receive the death sentence if convicted.
It is alleged that Santiago methodically walked among people waiting to collect their luggage at Terminal 2 inside the facility, aiming for their heads and shooting as he moved.
The weapon used, a semi-automatic Walter PPS handgun, ran out of bullets. Santiago reloaded and kept shooting until the second mag also ran out. He then calmly put the gun on the ground and lay down waiting to be arrested.
Santiago is an Army veteran who did a tour of duty in Iraq as a Combat Engineer, receiving several commendations. He began developing psychological issues after returning home in 2011.
He enlisted in the National Guard in Anchorage, but was discharged due to ‘unsatisfactory service.’ After that, he showed up at the local FBI office claiming that voices in his head were asking him to follow ISIS.
According to family members, Santiago had ‘changed’ after returning from Iraq.
He has now been charged with an act of violence causing death, which carries the death penalty if convicted.
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