UPDATE: Fort Lauderdale shooter served in Alaska Army National Guard

Published: Jan. 6, 2017 at 11:47 AM AKST
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An Anchorage resident is arrested as the suspected gunman in a shooting in Florida, killing at least five people and wounding eight others.

Esteban Santiago, 26, allegedly opened fire indiscriminately at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Friday morning after departing from Anchorage on a Delta flight the previous evening, CNN reports. Santiago checked a gun at the airport and allegedly used that weapon to fire upon random people in the baggage claim area at the Florida airport.

“We had just sat down on the plane, just getting kids situated,” said Alaska resident Gary Keller, who was in the airport during the incident. “Then all of the sudden there was a lot of yelling, screaming.”

There is no confirmed motive for the shooting at this time.

Officials with the Alaska Army National Guard confirmed, Santiago has a near decade-long history of military service dating back to 2007.

Lt. Col. Candis A. Olmstead said, Santiago joined the Puerto Rico National Guard when he was 17 years old. In April of 2010, he was deployed overseas, serving in Iraq for about 10 months. After his tour, Santiago joined the Army Reserves, before joining the Alaska Army National Guard in Nov. of 2014.

During that time, Santiago was described as a traditional soldier working as a combat engineer stationed in Anchorage. According to Olmstead, less than two years after enlisting, Santiago received a general discharge from the Alaska Army National Guard in Aug. 2016 for unsatisfactory performance. Officials wouldn't confirm the details behind the discharge. He left service in Alaska as a private first class.

Santiago has an open criminal complaint filed against him in regards to a Jan. 2016 incident of domestic violence in Anchorage. According to court documents, Santiago assaulted his girlfriend by “strangling her and smacking her in the side of the head.” He also allegedly broke a bathroom door during that incident.

CBS News reports, Santiago walked into the Anchorage FBI office and told employees his mind was being controlled by the CIA and was being forced to watch videos for ISIS in Nov. 2016. He was allegedly transported to a mental health facility following the incident.

The Anchorage FBI office released a statement reading:

“At this time, the Broward County Sheriff's office in Florida is the lead investigative agency in the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The FBI Anchorage Field Office is aware Esteban Santiago is an Anchorage resident. We are assisting in the investigation in any way we can and have no further statement at this time. “

The brother of the alleged shooter, Bryan Santiago, told the Associated Press the suspect had been receiving psychological treatment while living in Alaska. Bryan Santiago said his family got a call in recent months from Esteban Santiago’s girlfriend alerting them to the situation.

According the the AP, he said Esteban Santiago was born in New Jersey but moved to Puerto Rico when he was two years old.


The alleged Fort Lauderdale shooter took Delta #1088 from Anchorage to Minneapolis-Saint Paul last night, landing this morning, and then he took Delta #2182 from Minneapolis-Saint Paul to Fort Lauderdale airport, says sources involved in the investigation.

Original Story

Law enforcement sources identified the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooter as Esteban Santiago, a 26-year-old man born in New Jersey with ties to Alaska.

Multiple senior law enforcement sources tell NBC that Santiago was born in March 1990. Sources tell NBC he also had a military ID on him when he was arrested.

Santiago served in the Alaska National Guard until July of 2016, according to Candis Olmstead, the Director of Public Affairs for Alaska National Guard.

The Alaska National Guard is looking into how long Santiago served in Alaska.

On public records, Santiago had listed an address in South Anchorage. A man who now lives in the trailer says he does not know Santiago and that his family has occupied the home since Dec. of 2015.

KTUU also did a search of court records showing an Esteban Santiago was charged with two misdemeanors in 2016. The man listed in court records does have the same date of birth as the shooter in Florida.

A county official says the Fort Lauderdale airport shooter pulled a gun out of a checked bag, loaded in a bathroom and started shooting, killing five people and wounding at least eight.

Chip LaMarca, a Broward County commissioner, was briefed on the airport shooting by Broward Sheriff's office. He told The Associated Press by phone that the shooter was a passenger on a Canadian flight and had checked a gun.

LaMarca says the shooter pulled out the gun in the bathroom after claiming his bag.

Sheriff Scott Israel says the gunman was not harmed and that law enforcement did not fire any shots. He says it is not yet known if the shooting was an act of terror.