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Multiple People Shot, Killed at Fort Lauderdale Airport in Florida

  • VOA News

Florida Governor Rick Scott has called for prayer for the victims of a shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport Friday that left five people dead and eight others injured.

Scott spoke to reporters Friday evening, several hours after the shooting took place. He said his "heart goes out to every family impacted" by the shooting. He also said he had called U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence about the shooting and had been assured that they would "do everything in their power" to provide whatever assistance was needed.

Scott said he had not reached out to current U.S. President Barack Obama about the shooting. He said he contacted Trump and Pence because he had a personal relationship with them.

Scott also said his staff had been in touch with airports around the state since the shooting to find out what resources they needed.

"My imperative is to keep everybody safe," he said. "Everybody's working hard to find out exactly what happened, and I don't want this to ever happen again."

An hour after the shooting, claims that shots had been heard in other areas of the airport were reported, but officials said later at a news conference that those reports were unfounded.

Law enforcement personnel shield civilians outside a garage area at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Jan. 6, 2017. A gunman opened fire in the baggage claim area at the airport Friday, killing several people.
Law enforcement personnel shield civilians outside a garage area at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Jan. 6, 2017. A gunman opened fire in the baggage claim area at the airport Friday, killing several people.

The eight people injured at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport were transferred to a local hospital, the Broward County sheriff's office said on its official Twitter account. It also indicated that the attack had been carried out by a lone suspect who was in custody.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson told reporters a military ID with the name Esteban Santiago was found on the suspect, though it was not confirmed that the card belonged to him.

The attacker had been a passenger on an incoming flight and had packed the firearm in his checked luggage, officials told reporters at the airport in the hours after the attack. He was first reported to be a passenger on a Canadian flight, but a spokeswoman for the Canadian Embassy said later that there was no Canadian connection. She cited U.S. officials who said the suspect had flown in from Anchorage, Alaska, via Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Witnesses told ABC News that the assailant repeatedly yelled, "I'm not Jewish." Other reports indicated he was wearing a Star Wars T-shirt and lay spread-eagle on the floor after he shot 13 people, awaiting arrest.

Travelers are evacuated out of the terminal and onto the tarmac after airport shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, Jan. 6, 2017.
Travelers are evacuated out of the terminal and onto the tarmac after airport shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, Jan. 6, 2017.

The sheriff's office said the suspect was taken into custody unharmed. They did not disclose a motive, saying they were "uncertain" as to whether the attack was an act of terror.

News helicopters hovering over the area showed hundreds of people waiting on the tarmac as ambulances took victims to the hospital and law enforcement personnel raced to the scene.

Passengers are shown on the tarmac outside Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after a shooter opened fire inside a terminal of the airport, killing several people and wounding others before
Passengers are shown on the tarmac outside Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after a shooter opened fire inside a terminal of the airport, killing several people and wounding others before

Former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer tweeted that he was at the airport when shots were fired, but that the scene had since calmed.

All services at the airport were suspended, the airport announced on its official Twitter account.

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