FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS) – A gunman killed five and injured at least 13 people when he opened fire in the baggage claim area of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Friday afternoon.
Authorities say Esteban Santiago-Ruiz, 26, was a passenger on a flight and packed a gun in a checked bag. He reportedly began shooting when he retrieved and loaded the gun after his flight.
Officers took Santiago-Ruiz, who was the only shooter in the incident, into custody alive.
Santiago-Ruiz was carrying a military ID at the time of the shooting.
After Santiago-Ruiz opened fire, many fled the airport but others remained huddled in the baggage claim area where the incident took place. Among those running away was 28-year-old Kristopher Israel, who recently moved to Fort Lauderdale from Massachusetts.
“I went in, didn’t know anything was going, all of a sudden this guy comes out, pulls out a f—ing handgun and starts shooting,” Israel told WBZ-TV. “He was starting to shoot people in the head.”
Israel ran upstairs to his gate, and by that point the airport was on lock down. When Israel thought he was in the clear, a report of a second shooter emerged. Those reports turned out to be unsubstantiated. Still, Israel said it was terrifying.
“We all jumped out and went down the Jet Blue stairway,” he said. “I ran for my life. I’ve never been so terrified in my life.”
Israel said he then hid with others.
“I ended up going into a side shed of the carts and hid behind this little cubby thing with two girls who have families, and they were terrified because they have kids, and we were just keeping quiet. Our phones were on silent. We were terrified that someone would come in and hurt us.”
Justin Brown, a Boston College student, was set to fly back to Boston today after a vacation in Florida. He was caught in the second scare, when unsubstantiated reports of a second gunman emerged.
“I looked up and saw about 100 people running toward me, screaming get down, take cover,” Brown said. “I immediately got up, just left my backpack right there.”
Brown said he and the others ran for the nearest exit, busting through a door to safety. He ran downstairs to the airport tarmac and flagged down a pickup truck.
Both Israel and Brown are now OK, but they don’t know when they’ll be able to fly to Boston as scheduled.
Passengers on a flight to Boston Friday afternoon were among the last to leave after the shots rang out.
Steven Bannon knew something was wrong as he looked out the window as his plane was pulling away from the gate.
“We just got on the plane and then we see people sprinting onto the runway so like you could tell there was something bad about to happen, or just did,” Bannon said. “I don’t know how we were able to take off.”
Officers continue to investigate the incident.
The Boston Bruins team plane was diverted to Miami International Airport due to the shooting. The Bruins are facing the Florida Panthers Saturday night and were scheduled to land at the Fort Lauderdale airport Friday afternoon. “The thoughts and prayers of the Bruins organization are with the victims of today’s shooting and the entire Fort Lauderdale community,” the team said in a statement.