About an hour ago there was a mass shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in south Florida. The shooter is reportedly in custody but police are saying that “multiple people” have been killed–I’ve seen reports that say three and others five, but obviously this is a very fluid situation and it doesn’t make much sense to talk about hard facts right now. Nothing is known about the shooter’s motive but of course terrorism is high on the list of possibilities. The airport is shut down, as you might expect, but flights that were already on the tarmac seem to be taking off–I imagine there’s not much else you can do in that regard.
I’m in and out today but I’ll try to update this post when I can and as more information comes in.
UPDATE: The shooting reportedly took place at a baggage claim area in Terminal 2. I note this only because we may see some renewed calls for moving airport security to a location outside the airport building, a ridiculous security theater idea that would do nothing but relocate targets of opportunity to a slightly different location.
UPDATE 2: Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) is doing the cable news rounds, saying that the shooter has been identified as Esteban Santiago and that he was carrying some kind of military ID. In my opinion it’s still too early to assume this is necessarily accurate, even coming from a US Senator. He was using a single handgun and went through three magazines before lying down for police to arrest him. Hard to know what to make of that. Was he trying to commit suicide by cop? If so he’s been confounded. The fact that he apparently made no effort to escape suggests he wasn’t all that concerned whether or not he survived, but on the other hand it appears he wasn’t prepared to kill himself.
CNN is doing its standard crisis “shoot raw video and have the anchor just vamp over it” thing, and there have been some scenes of people running out of buildings and assuming cover positions in the last 20 minutes or so that haven’t yet been fully explained. Reportedly somebody heard what sounded like gunshots somewhere in the airport, and so people evacuated in response, but I don’t know any more than that. Seems at this point like a false alarm.
UPDATE 3: Santiago has been officially identified as the shooter. He reportedly flew in from Alaska–where, according to his family, he’d been receiving some kind of psychiatric treatment–with the gun in his checked bag.
There doesn’t appear to be much more to say at this point so I’m going to move on from this post. There’s no indication as yet that Santiago had any connection to any domestic or overseas terrorist network of any kind, which puts this case kind of outside the usual scope of this blog. I do think it would be worthwhile to consider what, if anything, really separates someone like this from a “lone wolf terrorist” like Omar Mateen, other than a superficial religious distinction overlaying a shared desire to kill people. But examining that in any detail is probably best left for another time.