A 26-year-old Iraqi war veteran by the name of Esteban Santiago went on a shooting frenzy that killed at least 5 people on January 6, 2017. This took place in one of Florida’s most popular airports, the Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale. There are around 75,000 people who fly in and out of that airport daily.
According to CCTV footage, Esteban first retrieved his gun along with his checked in baggage. He then went to the bathroom to load it. When he came out, he began firing shots at the people crowding around the carousel. People panicked and evacuated the area, leaving over 20,000 bags and personal effects strewn around the airport.
The suspect was identified via his military ID. He claims to have heard voices in his head that were urging him to fight for ISIS, causing him to pull such a deathly stunt. He is currently under FBI custody.
The Transport Security Administration allows passengers to include guns in their checked in baggage as long as they comply with local and state laws. This is how Esteban carried his gun from Anchorage to Minneapolis and finally to Fort Lauderdale.
Following the tragic incident, all flights to and from the airport had to be temporarily suspended. Roads to and from the airport were likewise closed down.
Heightened security is now being implemented at the airport after it resumed operations. Additional metal detectors have been installed and Port Authority K-9s are seen walking around.
There are plans to install more security enhancements all over the country as, at present, anyone can basically walk into an airport without being screened at all. One major barrier in realizing these improvements is the projected hundreds of millions of dollars that it could cost to implement.
Authorities are now securing areas that are deemed as “soft targets,” making sure to assign additional personnel to keep an eye out in crowded areas such as check-in counters or baggage claim.
While airports are generally considered safe, the gaps in security will always pose a threat considering the great crowds of people flying in and out. This incident has led to the proposal of banning guns from being transported through checked in baggage completely which could make it harder for owners to carry their firearms from one place to another.
If you have an upcoming trip to Fort Lauderdale or Miami and you are concerned for your safety, it’s important to remember to refrain from standing within large crowds or unnecessarily staying at the airport. If you want to leave the area as soon as you can, getting a limo service is a good option. You can avail of the airport service Fort Lauderdale has to offer.
Your limo drivers are also trained and capable of responding to different emergency situations, so you’ll be in good hands should anything happen. But always remember that personal safety is paramount above all and that no one else is in charge of your own safety but you.