At least five people have been killed and eight others injured when a gunman opened fire at US’ Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, the latest mass shooting incident to rock the country.
Florida’s Broward County Sheriff’s office confirmed the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday.
The sheriff also said that a suspect was in custody at the airport.
The gunman — identified by authorities as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, who served in Iraq with the National Guard but was demoted and discharged last year for unsatisfactory performance — was immediately taken into custody. His brother said he had been receiving psychological treatment recently.
Also read | US: Gunman opens fire at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport in Florida, at least one dead
"We don't know a motive at this point," said Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida. "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."
The Sheriff’s office said five people were dead and eight had been taken to a hospital.
The shooting took place in Terminal 2 in the baggage claim area, outside the TSA checkpoint, police said. Air Canada and Delta Airlines operate out of Terminal 2.
People were corralled onto the tarmac and paramedics were at the scene, police said.
All services at the airport have been temporarily suspended, the airport tweeted.
Hundreds of people were standing on the tarmac as dozens of police cars and ambulances rushed to the scene.
Police received a call just before 1300 local time (2330 IST yesterday) about shots fired at Terminal Drive.
Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said in a tweet, “I’m at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. Shots have been fired. Everyone is running.”
A Miami TV station tweeted footage claiming to be from inside the baggage terminal. The video shows several injured people lying on the floor as witnesses shout for medical help.
Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief told CNN that the shooter acted alone and that there is no evidence of a partner.
“At this time we do not have a motive, but we are actively investigating that,” she said.
Florida Governor Rick Scott wrote on social media, “I am on my way to Fort Lauderdale International Airport to be briefed by law enforcement.”
“The shooter was very skinny. He seemed to be very young... He was just letting himself be dragged by the police. It was scary,” an eyewitness said.
More than 325 departure and 325 arrival flights come in and out of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in a day, according to the airport’s website. Over 73,000 travellers are at the airport on a daily basis.