A shooting victim is taken into Broward Health Trauma Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Authorities said multiple people have died after a lone suspect opened fire at the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, international airport. (Taimy Alvarez /South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
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Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting: Multiple People Killed, Suspect In Custody

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A gunman opened fire in the baggage claim area at the Fort Lauderdale airport Friday, killing five people and wounding eight before being taken into custody in an attack that sent panicked passengers running out of the terminal and onto the tarmac, authorities said.

Authorities gave no details on a possible motive for the shooting.

“People started kind of screaming and trying to get out of any door they could or hide under the chairs,” a witness, Mark Lea, told MSNBC. “He just kind of continued coming in, just randomly shooting at people, no rhyme or reason to it.”

Then the attacker threw down his weapon and lay spread-eagle on the ground until he was taken into custody, Lea said.

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said the gunman was a lone shooter.

“We have no evidence at this time that he was acting with anyone else. He is currently in custody and we’re investigating,” Sharief said. Investigators are looking into the suspect’s motive, she said.

A county official says the Fort Lauderdale airport shooter pulled a gun out of a checked bag, loaded it in a bathroom and started shooting.

Chip LaMarca, a Broward County commissioner, was briefed on the airport shooting by Broward Sheriff’s office. He told The Associated Press by phone that the shooter was a passenger on a Canadian flight and had checked a gun.

Sheriff Scott Israel says the gunman was not harmed and that law enforcement did not fire any shots. He says it is not yet known if the shooting was an act of terror.

Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida identified the gunman as Esteban Santiago and said that he was carrying a military ID, but that it was unclear whether it was his.

“We don’t know a motive at this point,” Nelson said. “This could well be someone who is mentally deranged, or in fact it could be someone who had a much more sinister motive that we have to worry about every day, and that is terrorism. We can’t conclude that.”

Israel also says there was nothing to substantiate reports of a second shooting at the airport.

A passenger says he heard the first gunshots as he picked up his luggage from a baggage claim carousel in a shooting.

John Schilcher told Fox News the person next to him fell to the ground Friday. He says other people started falling, and he then dropped to the ground with his wife and mother-in-law. Schilcher says “the firing just went on and on.”

He says the shooter emptied his weapon and reloaded during an eerily quiet lull in the gunfire. Schilcher says he didn’t assume it was safe until he saw a police officer standing over him at the Fort Lauderdale international airport.

He says he remained on the ground and was told not to move as authorities investigated unconfirmed reports of a second shooting.

All flights have been canceled according to airport officials via Twitter.

(CNN) — [Breaking news alert, posted at 1:28 p.m. ET Friday]

At least nine people were injured in a shooting at the Fort Lauderdale airport on Friday, a US official familiar with the incident said. The shooter is in custody, according to the official.

[Previous story, posted at 1:24 p.m. ET Friday]

Parts of Fort Lauderdale airport were apparently evacuated on Friday after a security incident. Airport officials said on Twitter that there is an “ongoing incident” in the baggage claim area of Terminal 2.

Multiple reports on social media — including tweets from former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, indicated shots had been fired.

Gene Messina had just arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on Delta Flight 2012 as people were being evacuated from the terminal due to a reported shoogin on Friday, January 6, 2017.
Gene Messina had just arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on Delta Flight 2012 as people were being evacuated from the terminal due to a reported shoogin on Friday, January 6, 2017.

Gene Messina had just arrived in Fort Lauderdale on Delta Flight 2012 as people were being evacuated from the terminal.

“I got off the plane and I saw people running and screaming. At first I was in shock but when I saw TSA agents running, I booked,” Messina told CNN over Instagram.

In November 2016, nearly 2.5 million travelers passed through Fort Lauderdale’s airport, according to a government report on the facility. There are four terminals at the airport.

Aerial footage from CNN affiliates showed large groups of people standing outside on the tarmac.

Developing story – more to come

CNN’s Amanda Wills and David Williams contributed to this report.

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  • How could this possibly have happened? Airports are strict gun-free zones.

    It’s no surprise our foreign-born Islamist-in-chief wants to take guns away from law abiding American citizens.

    Obama is the biggest threat to the American way of life…Obama hates Americans, the Constitution, and free market capitalism. He destroyed our economy with measures like the ACA and immigration amnesty. The “Affordable” Care Act has been nothing short of a disaster. My health insurance bill is up to $450/month. (Compare this to my $25/month auto insurance from Insurance Panda or my $10/month renters insurance… both private enterprise!) Keep your hands off us!

    The rights to a free press, free speech, assembly, and religion are extremely important but none of them matters very much if you can’t defend your own life against aggression. Every person should have the right to bear arms. Leave your hands off my guns!