The suspected killer in the Ft. Lauderdale rampage, 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, was charged on Saturday with performing an act of violence at an airport, which could earn him the death penalty if he is convicted.
(FOX)- Santiago was charged with an act of violence at an international airport resulting in death and weapons charges.
Earlier, the FBI announced that Santiago apparently traveled to the airport for the purpose of carrying out the bloody rampage.
Santiago told investigators that he planned the attack, buying a one-way ticket to the Fort Lauderdale airport, a federal complaint said. Authorities don’t know why he chose his target and have not ruled out terrorism.
Terrorism may have been a “potential motivation” for the attack on Friday that killed five people, Special Agent in Charge George Piro said during a news conference.
The suspected shooter had a history of mental health problems — some of which followed his military service in Iraq — and was receiving psychological treatment at his home in Alaska, his relatives said.
FBI investigators questioned Santiago for hours. Piro said investigators were scouring the 26-year-old suspect’s social media footprint and looking into where he’d traveled before.
Since returning from Iraq, Santiago served in the Army Reserves and the Alaska National Guard in Anchorage, Olmstead told the AP. He was serving as a combat engineer in the Guard before his discharge for “unsatisfactory performance,” said Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead, a spokeswoman. His military rank upon discharge was E3, private 1st class, and he worked one weekend a month with an additional 15 days of training yearly, Olmstead said.
She would not elaborate on his discharge, but the Pentagon said he went AWOL several times and was demoted and discharged.