Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (PPD)—The FBI confirmed federal charges have been filed against Esteban Santiago, who opened fire at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday. The exact scope and nature of the charges are to be announced later Saturday.
(UPDATE: Federal prosecutors charged Santiago with performing an act of violence at an airport.)
Santiago, 26, killed 5 people and wounded 8 others after he brought a gun in a checked bag on a Delta Airlines flight from Anchorage, Alaska, where he had been living after serving in the U.S. Army National Guard.
National Guard spokesman Major Paul Dahlen said Santiago deployed to Iraq in 2010 as part of the Puerto Rico National Guard, spending a year with an engineering battalion.
People’s Pundit Daily reported Friday he was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) multiple times. Santiago, 26, according to his aunt, “lost his mind” after a tour of duty in Iraq. Maria Ruiz Rivera, of Union City, said she was told by relatives in Florida that the suspected shooter who killed at least five people at the Fort Lauderdale airport Friday was her nephew, Esteban Santiago-Ruiz.
“Only thing I could tell you was when he came out of Iraq, he wasn’t feeling too good,” Hernan Rivera, his uncle told The Record newspaper.
Agents who identified themselves as being from the FBI arrived at the family’s Union City apartment Friday afternoon to question the aunt and uncle about their nephew, the family said. Sources said Santiago visited the FBI field office in Anchorage in November and told agents that U.S. intelligence agencies had infiltrated his mind and were forcing him to watch ISIS propaganda videos.
The FBI transferred him to law enforcement to be checked for mental health concerns. The complete results of the general welfare check are unknown, though the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was brought into a joint-agency background investigation.