Active Shooter at Ft. Lauderdale Airport

Fort Lauderdale, Florida was the scene of an active shooter situation earlier today, where a man opened fire at random, killing 5 and injuring 9. The man, identified as Esteban Santiago was reportedly a passenger on a flight from Minneapolis -St. Paul airport, traveling with a weapon in his checked luggage. According to reports, when he arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Santiago retrieved his luggage at the baggage claim and went into the bathroom to unpack and load his weapon. He then exited the bathroom and begun his deadly rampage. As this situation is still in the very early stages of investigation, there are few details at this point about the shooter’s motive. However, the little insight that is known is that he likely acted alone and carried a military ID, leading officials to believe he was a member of the military.

In the midst of this ordeal, emergency responders quickly evacuated Terminal 2 where the shooting occurred. The other terminals were not evacuated at this time. However, 90 minutes later, there were multiple reports of another shooter in both a parking garage and in Terminal 1. These reports led to widespread panic and chaos throughout the entire airport. SWAT teams were seen clearing the airport and officials later confirmed that there were no additional shooters. The investigation is still ongoing.

Preparing for an event of this nature is extremely important, especially while active shooter situations can occur at any time, in any place. The Department of Homeland Security has published guidance for coping with the possibility of an active shooter situation:

  • Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers
  • Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit
  • If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door
  • Attempt to take the active shooter down as a last resort

When an active shooter is in your vicinity:


  • Have an escape route and plan in mind
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Keep your hands visible


  • Hide in an area out of the shooter’s view
  • Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors
  • Silence your cell phone and/or pager


  • As a last resort and only when your life is in imminent danger
  • Attempt to incapacitate the shooter
  • Act with physical aggression and throw items at the active shooter

When law enforcement arrives:

  • Remain calm and follow instructions
  • Put down any items in your hands (i.e., bags, jackets)
  • Raise hands and spread fingers
  • Keep hands visible at all times
  • Avoid quick movements toward officers such as holding on to them for safety
  • Avoid pointing, screaming or yelling
  • Do not stop to ask officers for help or direction when evacuating

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