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What We Know About the Fort Lauderdale Shooter

What We Know About the Fort Lauderdale Shooter

History of mental health problems, was under psychiatric care

Mary wrote yesterday about the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood international airport that killed five and wounded eight others.  Details are now being released about the shooter, Esteban Santiago, and it appears that he had a history of mental health problems and was under psychiatric care.

The Broward County Sheriff’s office has posted the following about the incident:

A lone gunman, Esteban Santiago, 26 (DOB 3/16/90), opened fire in the baggage claim area, killing five people and wounding eight others.

Airport operations were completely halted as deputies and officers from local, state and federal agencies fanned across airport property to ensure there were no additional threats present.

In addition to those killed and wounded, about three dozen others were transported to area hospitals with minor injuries such as chest pain, anxiety, fall injuries, etc.

Santiago will be booked into the BSO Main Jail after agents complete their questioning. Once he’s booked, you can obtain his booking photo through the arrest search on our website

The FBI is the lead in the investigation. Special Agent in charge of the Miami Division George Piro and Sheriff Scott Israel will be holding a press conference at 10 a.m. Saturday at the media staging area in the upper level, between terminals 1 and 2 at the airport. (emphasis in original)

You can read the booking information here.

Following is the Broward Sheriff’s office booking photo of Santiago.

Santiago apparently flew from his home in Alaska to the Fort Lauderdale airport for the express purpose of shooting people.

ABC News reports:

According to senior officials, the suspect flew from Anchorage, Alaska to Fort Lauderdale via Minneapolis. He boarded the plane in Alaska last night. He only checked one bag — a hard case carrying his gun, Anchorage Airport Police told ABC News. TSA regulations allow guns to be checked into baggage if they are stored in a locked, hard-sided container that cannot be easily accessed.

According to a Broward County commissioner, he allegedly loaded the gun in the bathroom and came out firing. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said that he fired “indiscriminately” at people in the airport.

The gunman “went through a couple dozen rounds” before throwing the gun down away from him and “lying face down and spread eagle,” waiting for officers to approach him, according to Lea.

Santiago’s background is also emerging as ABC News reports.

Santiago, who spent nine years in the military, was a combat engineer with the Alaska Army National Guard and left the military in August, said Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead, director of public affairs for the Alaska National Guard. He received a general discharge under honorable conditions at the rank of Private First Class.

He joined the Puerto Rico National Guard in December 2007 and was deployed to Iraq from April 2010 to February 2011.

Along the way, he earned a number of awards, including the Army Commendation Medal and the Army Good Conduct Medal, according to his service record.

His mental health became a concern when he walked into an FBI field office in Anchorage and claimed that he was under mind control by an intelligence agency and that he was being forced to watch ISIS videos.

ABC News continues:

A senior law enforcement official said that Santiago walked into the Anchorage FBI field office in November 2016, after his discharge from the military and said he was under mind control by a U.S. intelligence agency.

The official said he appeared incoherent and agitated, saying the U.S. government was trying to force him to watch ISIS videos.

However, he said he didn’t want to hurt anyone. Still, the FBI contacted local law enforcement, which, out of caution, had him medically evaluated. The FBI closed the probe after reviewing databases and interviewing family the official said.

Sources told ABC News that Santiago had received mental health treatment after the encounter with the FBI. A person who answered the phone for Signal 88 — a company in Anchorage where Santiago worked in a security capacity — said it has no comment and is “currently under the advisement of federal authorities.”

According to Santiago’s brother, he was a “normal person,” while other relatives share that he “lost his mind” following his tour in Iraq.

Fox News reports:

In recent years, Santiago had been living in Anchorage, Alaska, his brother, Bryan Santiago, told The Associated Press from Puerto Rico. Bryan Santiago said his brother’s girlfriend had recently called the family to alert them to his treatment, but he didn’t have further details. He said his brother never spoke to him directly about his medical issues.

“We have not talked for the past three weeks,” Bryan Santiago said. “That’s a bit unusual … I’m in shock. He was a serious person … He was a normal person.”

. . . .  Since returning from Iraq, he had also served in the Army Reserves and the Alaska National Guard in Fairbanks. He was serving as a combat engineer in the Guard prior to his discharge for “unsatisfactory performance,” said Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead, a spokeswoman. She would not elaborate on his discharge.

His uncle and aunt in New Jersey were trying to make sense of what they were hearing about Santiago after his arrest at the Fort Lauderdale airport.

Maria Ruiz told the Record that her nephew had recently become a father and was struggling with the role.

“It was like he lost his mind,” she said of his return from Iraq. “He said he saw things.”

Watch the report:


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Crazy people are dangerous.

It’s often the case that serious mental illness presents in young men in their twenties.

    Incorrect. Mentally ill people are statistically not any more or less prone to violence than the general population. The number tends to hover around 4% for both groups.

    As to the “young men in their twenties” part, that’s also incorrect. Mental illness knows no race, no age, no gender. Mentally ill men in their twenties (particularly their early twenties) do questionable things for the same reason normal men in their early twenties do: they are legal adults (with all the rights and privileges that go with that), they are at their physical peak, and their intelligence is good, but the impulse-control areas of their brains haven’t yet fully developed — which doesn’t happen until late-twenties for most young men.

    Mental illness might make someone more erratic and unpredictable, but doesn’t work as a factor for predicting violence.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Archer. | January 8, 2017 at 9:07 am

      Rags said: “It’s often the case that serious mental illness presents in young men in their twenties.”

      You said: “As to the “young men in their twenties” part, that’s also incorrect.”

      Rags is correct and you are wrong. As one of many examples, schizophrenia has a typical onset range of 18-22 years old. For another, a range of anxiety disorders have the same late teens/early twenties typical onset.

      Ragspierre in reply to Archer. | January 8, 2017 at 11:45 am

      I think you’ll ALSO find that psychopathy is much more common in males, and PRESENTS very often in males in the ages I suggested.

      But, hey, I don’t even play a doctor on TV. I just know stuff.

Obama’s EPA declared CO2 a dangerous pollutant, so I’m thinking this guy should go ahead and do what’s right for Mother Gaia.

Once again we see the collapse of the anti-terrorist intelligence system.

A man walks into the local FBI office complaining that voices in his head, placed there by the US intelligence community, are forcing him to watch ISIS recruitment videos. At the very least, it seems that this person would be a prime candidate for inclusion on the No Fly List. Instead, the FBI decides he is a harmless nutbar and dumps him onto the local authorities, who have him committed for mental health observation. And, that was apparently the end of the federal interest in this man. Until he boarded an airplane in Alaska, after checking only a pistol case, flew to Fort Lauderdale, collected his weapon, loaded it and shot 13 people at the airport. I’m sorry, but when a person, mentally ill or not, is indicating that he may harm others, under these circumstances, it seems that he would automatically be placed on the terrorist watch list. If the feds can put 3 year olds on the list, they should have no trouble with this guy being on the list. And, if he is on the list, he doesn’t fly to Florida with a pistol unless the feds clear him to fly.

This is the second shooter, in the last seven months in Florida alone, who had already had contact with the FBI in a suspected terrorist situation. And, the federal intelligence services, including the FBI, wants the public to trust their judgement.

Henry Hawkins | January 7, 2017 at 4:14 pm

“His mental health became a concern when he walked into an FBI field office in Anchorage and claimed that he was under mind control by an intelligence agency and that he was being forced to watch ISIS videos.”

This is a textbook symptom of schizophrenia, the onset of which is typically seen in the 18-22 years old range.

It appears that Signal 88 Security is a locally owned franchise.

If the shooter has a Alaska license to carry (not necessary to possess and concealed carry a firearm in Alaska), he would have had reciprocity in Florida.

It does not appear that the shooter was “adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution”. However, “any person who would carry a firearm in Alaska must evaluate their own qualifications under the Federal laws to possess the weapon. Any violation could result in criminal charges and would be the sole responsibility of the individual.”

Char Char Binks | January 8, 2017 at 2:37 pm

He’s wearing a shemagh. I’m not saying anything, I’m just saying.

Address his strongest point, not his weakest

Mentally ill people are statistically not any more or less prone to violence than the general population. The number tends to hover around 4% for both groups.

True or not false?

The lead photo shows Santiago wearing a “keffiyah”, common garb for Muslims in the Middle East. He is flashing a “shahada” hand sign, the single extended finger indicating belief in one god, and a recognition sign among Muslims. He served a year in Iraq, during which he may have had contact with Islamic ideas.
He has had a MySpace page under the name “aashiq Hamadd” for three years.
His military info suggests marked deterioration over nine years. He was awarded a Commendation Medal for meritorious service, and a Good Conduct Medal, both being awarded for at least good quality service, yet was discharged as an E-3 (PFC) after NINE years! This is indicative, in itself, of some form of severe mental deterioration, probably progressive schizophrenia.
It is also interesting to observe that he has been re-classified by the MSM from being an “hispanic” to being a “white hispanic”. Simultaneously, he has undergone a progressive loss of skin pigmentation in successive photos.
Someday it will probably leak out that he was a Jihadi.