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New information released by the National Guard revealed that the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooter, 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, most recently lived in Anchorage where he had served in the Alaska National Guard until August, 2016, when he was given a General Discharge.
Santiago lived in Anchorage since 2014, it was there that joined the Alaska National Guard after serving in the Army Reserves. While in Alaska, Santiago found a girlfriend, a job as a security guard, and became a father.
Within two years, Santiago would be charged with Assault DV, and soon after violate his conditions of release by going back to his girlfriend’s home. He would later enter into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, and the Assault charge would be dismissed. The agreement’s stipulations are unknown. Besides this case, Santiago had nothing other than traffic violations and an eviction to his record in the state.
Then, Santiago would be generally discharged from the Alaska National Guard in August, 2016, for unsatisfactory performance. He had ceased showing up for duty at the guard.
Lt Col Candis Olmstead, with the Alaska Air National Guard, reported that, “Santiago was a traditional Soldier in Det. 1, HHT, 1-297th CAV (“Detachment 1, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 1st of the 297th Cavalry”) in Anchorage, Alaska, prior to his discharge. His higher headquarters was in Fairbanks, but his duty location was the National Guard Armory on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.” When discharged, Santiago held the rank of E3, or Private First Class.
Within months of his discharge, in November, 2016, Santiago went to the FBI office in Anchorage, and told agents there, that he was hearing voices that he attributed to the CIA. He said the voices were forcing him to fight for ISIS. The FBI called Anchorage police and Santiago was checked into Anchorage’s psychiatric hospital.
Santiago’s family says that his psychiatric issues began to surface after his deployment to Iraq.
Born in New Jersey, Santiago was raised in Puerto Rico. Santiago deployed to Iraq while in the Puerto Rican National Guard in April, 2010. He remained in Iraq less than a year and in February 19, 2011 ended his deployment.
— Twistity (@TwistityNews) January 6, 2017
On Friday, the shooter traveled to Fort Lauderdale on Delta Airlines flight 2182. The flight originated in Anchorage as flight 1088, and departed at just after 10 pm last night. From Anchorage, the flight then stopped over in Minneapolis before continuing on to Fort Lauderdale. the incident at the Fort Lauderdale airport took place immediately after arriving at Terminal Two, the terminal that serves Delta and Air Canada flights.
Authorities say that Santiago had his handgun in his checked luggage and that he had it there lawfully. When he arrived at the baggage area at Terminal Two in Fort Lauderdale, he claimed his luggage, went to the restroom and took out the pistol and three magazines of ammunition. He loaded his weapon, then exited the restroom, made his way back to the baggage area, and wordlessly opened fire on the crowd gathered there.
Witnesses say that he, at times, fired into luggage to get at his intended victims that were using baggage as cover, and shot people again after they were down. During the carnage, Santiago killed five and wounded eight.
He reloaded and fired until all three magazines were expended. With no more bullets, he sat down onto the floor and waited for authorities. Contrary to earlier reports, the gunman was not shot when he was apprehended.
Authorities in Florida are continuing their investigation as to Santiago’s motives for the shocking slaughter.