On Friday, January 6, the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida was under attack by ominous gunman, Esteban Santiago.
Former Iraq war veteran Esteban Santiago, 26, was held responsible for the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. He served in the Army Reserves, and reportedly had military identification on him during the attack. According to the Pentagon, Santiago had served from 2007 to 2016 in the Puerto Rico National Guard and Alaska National Guard. This included a deployment to Iraq from 2010 to 2011. Esteban received 6 medals before being relocated ot the inactive ready reserve in August last year. He was also a private first class and combat engineer. In addition, he is an American citizen who was born in New Jersey and presumably is of Puerto Rican descent.
Five people were killed during the shooting and eight were left injured in the terminal. Of the victims were volunteer firefighter Terry Andres, great-grandmother Olga Woltering, and Michael Oehme, a loving husband.
Olga Woltering was preparing to take off for a cruise with her husband, Ralph Woltering, when she was fatally shot at the airport. Fortunately, her husband had escaped unharmed. Olga was a wonderful great-grandmother who was engaged and active in both her community and church in Marietta, Georgia.
As stated by Michael Oehme’s mother-in-law, Michael and his wife, Kari, were both shot at the airport. Michael was murdered as he was shot in the head while Kari was hospitalized after being shot in the shoulder and neck. The couple from Council Bluffs, Iowa were in Florida to head out on an annual cruise to the Caribbeans.
Volunteer firefighter Terry Andres was travelling with his wife to celebrate his birthday when he was shot at the airport. Luckily, his wife was unharmed.
Federal prosecutors have charged Esteban with three federal crimes on January 7. He must deal with two firearms offenses, and executing an act of violence at an international airport.
Esteban had flown in on a Canadian airline. A 9 mm Walther handgun was checked in his luggage, and he loaded the gun in the bathroom after receiving it from the baggage carousel. Terminal 2 was immediately evacuated after Esteban had shot the lower level baggage claim area. At the time, Broward County had moved deputies from the terminals to direct traffic, and so the airport was left unguarded. As Esteban was reloading his gun after injuring thirteen people, the police were able to grab him and put an end to the violence.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families. May they rest in peace.
By Sarah El Sharkawi
Reuters. “Florida Airport Shooting: Multiple People Dead in Fort Lauderdale, Sheriff’s Office Says”. AM New York. Jan 6 2017. http://www.amny.com/news/florida-airport-shooting-multiple-people-dead-in-fort-lauderdale-sheriff-s-office-says-1.12876628
Wilson, Samantha. “Florida Airport Shooting Victims Revealed: A Great-Grandmother & More — Pics”. Hollywood Life. Jan 7 2017. http://hollywoodlife.com/2017/01/07/fort-lauderdale-shooting-victims-revealed-killed-airport-pics/
Ginsberg, Gabriella. “Florida Airport Shooter Esteban Santiago Charged With 3 Federal Crimes”. Hollywood Life. Jan 7 2017. http://hollywoodlife.com/2017/01/07/fort-lauderdale-shooter-charged-esteban-santiago-federal-crimes/
Brow, Jason. “Fort Lauderdale Airport: 5 Dead, 8 Wounded After Shooting In Terminal — Report” Hollywood Life. Jan 6 2017. http://hollywoodlife.com/2017/01/06/ft-lauderdale-airport-shooting-gunman-suspect-dead-injured/