An insight in to what happened when an active shooter attacked Fort Lauderdale Airport

The Sun-Sentinel has a fascinating article which provides the first insight I have read as to what happened after a mentally ill man, took out a gun he had legally checked in and collected from the luggage belt, and opened fire in the baggage hall at FLL, in January 2017. The mentally ill man, Esteban Santiago, killed five people and injured six and was subdued within minutes of the shooting at 1pm. The chaos however, dealing the aftermath, lasted in the early hours of the next morning.

Amongst the problems identified:

  • False reports of additional shooters were made by police officers on the scene. A dispatcher incorrectly reported multiple shooters in multiple terminals.
  • TSA staff are trained to run and hide in these circumstances, yet the public looked to them for help and information
  • So many police officers (estimated at 2,400) arrived at the airport that the antiquated radio system collapsed
  • It appears that no lessons were learned from previous incidents at LAX or New York
  • Plain clothed police officers, running with guns, were misidentified by the public as shooters
  • Once passengers had evacuated to the tarmac there were no plans as to what to do with them – no water, no toilets were made available
  • The buses sent to take 6,000 people to emergency accommodation created a massive traffic jam at the terminals, further delaying people leaving

If it’s a quiet Sunday for you, take a moment and read the full article – good investigative journalism!



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