FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) – The Iraq war veteran accused of killing five travelers and wounding six others at a busy international airport in Florida has been charged and could face the death penalty if convicted.
A federal complaint says 26-year-old Esteban Santiago told investigators that he planned the attack, buying a one-way ticket to the Fort Lauderdale airport. Authorities don’t know why he chose his target and have not ruled out terrorism.
Santiago was charged with an act of violence at an international airport resulting in death – which carries a maximum punishment of execution – and weapons charges.
Authorities say they’ve interviewed roughly 175 people, including a lengthy interrogation with the cooperative suspect, a former National Guard soldier from Alaska. Flights have resumed at the Fort Lauderdale airport, though the terminal where the shooting happened remains closed.
Santiago spoke to investigators for several hours after he opened fire with a Walther 9mm semi-automatic handgun that he appears to have legally checked on a flight from Alaska. The complaint says he had two magazines with him and emptied both of them, firing about 15 rounds, before he was arrested.
Santiago is scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday.(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)