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Shots rang out early on Friday afternoon at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood international airport, where a lone gunman open fired into the crowd near baggage claim in one of the terminals. Early reports indicate that the shooter acted alone but managed to shoot 13 people, wounding 8 and killing 5, in this horrific tragedy.

At around 12:55 pm on Friday afternoon the The Broward Sheriff's Office received a call about an active shooting taking place at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood international airport.

NBC Miami reports that the shooting occurred in the baggage claim area of terminal 2. More footage taken from the air showed the chaos that ensued on the tarmac after the initial shots rang out.

Large crowds of people can be seen dashing across the tarmac as people ran between terminals in search of cover. Others were seen hiding behind cars.

Officers searched for a potential second shooter with guns drawn as they entered a parking garage.

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel later made a statement saying, "The only gun shots fired at any time during this horrific incident have been downstairs at Terminal 2."

Eyewitness reports describe the horrors that took place inside the terminal.

One report from 53-year-old eyewitness Lea, from Minneapolis, was in the baggage claim area and told reporters that a man came into the are and open fired on the crowd.

"At first we thought it was firecrackers," explained Lea. "“Everyone started screaming and running. The shooter made his way down through baggage claim. He had what looked like a 9mm and emptied his entire clip. People were trying to run."

According to Lea, officers were on scene within a minute of the call made after the shooting started.

"It was absolutely surreal," said Lea. "People were scared and frantically running to avoid being shot. People were tripping over each other. They were trying to make a fast exit out of the door."

Another witness John Schlicher was with his wife and mother-in-law when the first shots were fired. He explained to an MSNBC reporter that the shooter "walked over and he was right in our area within feet from us shooting people."

"I put my head down and prayed," he said.

He said that his wife "was holding a sweater up against a man who was shot in the head. She was doing her best to apply pressure to his wounds. The person right next to him was already gone."

Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer was in the airport at the time of the shooting and tweeted about the incident.

Police identified the shooter, who has now been taken into custody as Esteban Santiago, a 26-year-old man born in New Jersey. Police Chief Israel said the Santiago was taken into custody unharmed.

Reports indicate that Santiago was traveling to Fort Lauderdale on a plane from Canada. He reportedly had checked a gun on the flight and after the flight came to claim his checked firearm. He then proceeded to take the weapon into the bathroom and load it before emerging from the restroom and open firing on civilians.

There is still very little known about why Santiago chose to go on this ruthless killing spree or if he was acting on behalf of any organization or group.

As of now the airport has temporarily suspended all activity until further notice.

Donald Trump responded to the tragedy quickly and tweeted "Monitoring the terrible situation in Florida. Just spoke to Governor Scott. Thoughts and prayers for all. Stay safe!"

Which is more than can be said for President Obama.

Please share this on Facebook and give your thoughts and prayers to those involved in this violent tragedy.

Source: NBC Miami

 

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