FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — Officials said the gunman in a deadly attack at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport checked in his weapon from a flight arriving from Canada.
Esteban Santiago-Ruiz, 26, has been named as the suspected shooter.
According to Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca, Esteban-Ruiz was a passenger on a Canadian flight with a gun that he checked in.
“He claimed his bag and took the gun from baggage and went into the bathroom to load it. Came out shooting people in baggage claim,” LaMarca said.
Law enforcement said he was found with an active military ID and is an American citizen, born in New Jersey. Previous known addresses include Penuelas, Puerto Rico and Anchorage, Alaska.
They add that in November 2016, he walked into an FBI office in Anchorage claiming that he was being forced to fight for ISIS. He was sent to a psychiatric hospital.
In 2011 or 2012, he was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations for child porn. Three weapons and a computer were seized, but there was not enough evidence to prosecute, according to law enforcement sources.
Air Canada claims that they have no record of a passenger by that name boarding any flights to the US, so he must’ve used fake ID to board the plane.
As for the ‘checked’ gun, any American who’s planned a hunting trip to Canada can tell you that getting permission from the RCMP to bring a shotgun or rifle across the border is a drawn out ordeal. Bringing a handgun into Canada is totally out of the question.
It’s also next to impossible for a Canadian citizen to buy a handgun legally in Canada, so there’s no way he walked into a Canadian gun store and bought one before the flight.
So how then did he happen to have a handgun which he was able to have checked into his baggage in Canada for the return trip?
Bear in mind that all checked bags are x-rayed before being loaded onto the plane and in the case of a declared gun, security would want to inspect it at the check-in counter to make sure it’s unloaded and properly secured.
According to airline regulations, any gun checked into baggage must be in a separate locked hard-sided case inside of locked luggage and ammo must be stored separately from the gun.
Still no word on if he’s in fact in the military or ever was.
So many questions and few good answers. I expect we’ll hear that he was a ‘disturbed’ individual. But how crazy could he have been and still be able to pull this off by himself? Either airport security here and in Canada is a farce or he had expert help planning this.
UPDATE: Word now is that he was on a flight from Anchorage, Alaska, not Canada.
Also, he received a ‘General discharge’ from the Alaska National Guard for unsatisfactory performance. He had served in Iraq during the war and relatives say he wasn’t right in the head since his return.
One point still seems a mystery, how could a guy with no real job afford to travel so much? There are pics of him in London recently in addition to Puerto Rico, New Jersey and Alaska.