A gunman opened fire at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport early this afternoon, according to eyewitness and media reports. Update (2:30pm ET): The sheriff’s office in Broward County, where the airport is located, said eight people were injured, five people were killed, and the shooter was in custody.
Airport officials said the incident took place at baggage claim in Terminal 2, an area of the airport that is generally open to the public. Quartz’s Leslie Josephs reported that these exposed areas, outside security checkpoints, are often blind spots in airport security that have been exploited by attackers at other transportation hubs.
Update (4:30pm ET): The gunman was said to be a passenger aboard a flight, according to Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca. LaMarca said in a Facebook post that the shooter checked the gun before boarding a plane, claimed his bag with the weapon upon his arrival at Fort Lauderdale, and loaded it in the bathroom before the shooting.
The shooter was reportedly identified as Esteban Santiago, 26, a spokesman for Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who spoke with officials at the Transportation Security Administration, told Reuters. He reportedly had military identification on him at the time of his arrest.
The Broward County sheriff’s office also investigated reports of additional shots being fired on airport property at around 2:30pm ET, but did not confirm a second shooter or shooting. Sheriff Scott Isreal reportedly said later in a news conference that the suspected gunman, who was being interviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, appeared to have acted alone. The airport remains closed for the time being and no flights are allowed in or out.
Former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer was at the airport earlier, and sent several updates on Twitter:
This is a breaking story that will be updated as more information becomes available.