On Friday, Estaban Santiago, 26, killed five people and wounded eight others after opening fire in the baggage claim area at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood airport.
It has now been confirmed that Santiago had a criminal record and was undergoing psychological treatment. The FBI opened an investigation on him in November.
Fox News is reporting that the suspect flew overnight Thursday to Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood Intl. Airport from Anchorage, Alaska, where he has resided since 2014. He had a concealed carry permit and had checked his weapon prior to boarding the flight in Anchorage. When he arrived at the airport, he reportedly claimed his checked bag, went into a restroom, loaded the weapon and came out firing.
Santiago’s family is originally from Puerto Rico, but he was born in New Jersey. He served in both the Army Reserves and the Alaskan Army National Guard. His aunt, Maria Ruiz, of Hudson County, New Jersey, said Santiago served two years in Iraq and “started acting strangely” when he returned.
Fox News reported that Santiago was honorably discharged from his military post at Greely, Arkansas four months ago.
Law enforcement sources say Santiago visited an FBI office in Anchorage, Alaska last November and told officers he was “being forced to watch ISIS videos.”
From Fox News:
The sources said Santiago told agents that US intelligence had infiltrated his mind and were forcing him to watch ISIS propaganda videos.
In addition, the sources told Fox that Santiago appeared agitated and incoherent during that interview, clearly indicating he was suffering from some kind of mental condition.
After the contact with Santiago, the FBI called local authorities who took custody of him and brought him to a local hospital for a welfare check.
The sources also said the November interaction with Santiago prompted the FBI to open an investigation on him that led to interviews with family members, database checks and an interagency review. The sources told Fox that the FBI found no connections to foreign terror organizations.
Fox News also reported that Santiago was charged with fourth-degree assault and property damage last year, has a history of minor traffic infractions, and was evicted from his apartment in February 2015.
Santiago is currently being interviewed by local and federal authorities. Stay tuned for more information.
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