Monday, December 9, 2019

Suspected Florida shooter charged

BBC:-The man suspected of carrying out a deadly shooting at a Florida airport has been charged by prosecutors.

Esteban Santiago, 26, is accused of opening fire at Fort Lauderdale airport, killing five people and injuring six others.

He is charged with carrying out an act of violence at an international airport resulting in death, which carries a maximum punishment of execution.

Mr Santiago also faces lesser weapons charges.

The suspect told agents he had planned the attack, court papers say.

Authorities say they do not know why he chose this target and that terrorism has not been ruled out.

Today’s charges represent the gravity of the situation and reflect the commitment of federal, state and local law enforcement personnel to continually protect the community and prosecute those who target our residents and visitors,” US Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said.

Mr Santiago used a semi-automatic handgun that he apparently legally checked on a flight from Alaska. He told investigators that he had bought a one-way ticket to Fort Lauderdale, according to a federal complaint.

Officials are also looking whether mental health problems played a role after it emerged that the suspect had been referred for a health assessment by the FBI.

Mr Santiago had walked into an FBI office in Alaska in November, agitated and incoherent, the FBI and Anchorage police said.

He was carrying a loaded magazine but had left his handgun in his car, with his newborn child.

During the later mental health evaluation, he told the FBI he was hearing voices and believed he was being controlled by a US intelligence agency.

His gun was confiscated but the authorities found no wrongdoing, and it was returned in December. It is not clear if this is the same gun that he is accused of using in the attack at the airport baggage claim area.

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