2017 seems to be having a rough start with air travel. After the dramatic arrest of a drunken pilot, and the hectic delays in airports across America due to a system malfunction, #Ft. Lauderdale was struck with a #Shooting, leaving five dead and many injured, resulting in devastation and nervousness.
The shooter is reported to have been experiencing “visions” and hearing voices following his return from a tour in Iraq.
Could this have been prevented?
Esteban Santiago served in Iraq, deployed with the Puerto Rico National Guard in 2010. Upon his return, relatives described him as a “changed man.” His aunt, Maria Ruiz Rivera, told CNN that, “He had visions all the time.” Apparently he spoke of what he witnessed during his deployment, specifically the “destruction and the killing of children.” Bryan Santiago, his brother, believed he suffered from mental issues, possibly being PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) or some other form of disorder resulting from trauma.
He has a history of violence that is traced back to January of last year when Santiago was arrested following a domestic violence dispute with his girlfriend under the charges of assault and criminal mischief. After breaking down a door, he assaulted his girlfriend, hitting her head, then proceeding to strangle her.
Several months ago, the FBI became aware of Santiago’s peculiar behavior after claiming he heard voices, and they were instructing him to watch ISIS videos.
Agents at the FBI office in Anchorage, Alaska, looked into his background and found no ties to ISIS or any proof of radicalization. Authorities took Santiago to a hospital for a mental health evaluation, where Santiago checked in of his own will. When at the FBI office in Anchorage, Santiago’s concealed weapon (for which he had a licence to carry) was taken, but returned to him after leaving the mental health evaluation. Investigators believe this firearm was the same one he used at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Looking at the information and signs, this leaves people asking if this could have been prevented.
What happened, and what is happening now
Santiago arrived in Florida from Alaska, via Minnesota. He declared a gun in a firearms carrying case that was kept in his bag. At baggage claim in Ft. Lauderdale, Santiago retrieved the weapon, removed it from its case, and proceeded to open fire. Santiago is now cooperating with authorities during long and extensive interviews as he remains in federal custody, being held on murder charges without bond. Authorities are not ruling out this shooting as an act of terrorism; however, it has also been stated that Santiago acted alone. He will appear in court on Monday. This tragedy is devastating for many and has stricken air travellers with fear and worry.