South Florida

Live blog: Video caught first moments of Fort Lauderdale airport shooting

A large crowd gathers around the baggage carousel in Terminal 2 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017.
A large crowd gathers around the baggage carousel in Terminal 2 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. pfarrell@miamiherald.com

On Sunday, two days after a gunman opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale airport, gossip site TMZ released a video the website says shows the initial seconds of the deadly shooting.

The 20-second recording shows a man walking through the baggage claim area with a handgun tucked into his waistband. The man suddenly pulls out the gun, starts firing and runs.

TMZ does not say where it obtained the video, although it appears to be from a surveillance camera.

This story will be updated as we learn more.

Long waits at the airport

On Sunday morning, the first flight took off from the terminal where the attack occurred.

Portions of the baggage claim area in Terminal 2, where a lone gunman opened fire Friday afternoon killing five people and seriously wounding six others, remained closed as investigators continued to collect evidence.

New security measures were in place at the airport, with the Transportation Security Administration allowing passengers to keep their belts and shoes on and laptops in their luggage at some checkpoints.

One security checkpoint at the airport surprised travelers by announcing they’d have to do less before walking through the scanners. With a bomb-detecting dog screening each passenger at the start of the TSA line, attendants at the end announced there was no need to remove shoes or belts.

Although the airport was less chaotic than on Saturday, lines to check bags stretched out the door.

New security measures were in place at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport two days after a gunman opened fire, killing five. Bomb-sniffing dogs were pre-screening passengers moving through crowded checkpoints, and the line to chec

Synthia Barnes began her journey to the Delta check-in counter outside by the airport driveway, some 200 passengers ahead of her.

“It’s crazy,” the hotel manager from Chicago said shortly after 2 p.m. About 90 minutes had passed since she got in the line, and now she was inside Terminal 2 with only seven people ahead of her. That wasn’t the end, though. This epic line only took her to the regular check-in line, by the check-in desk, where another 100 people were waiting for their chance to hand off their luggage and move to the security checkpoint. “I'm ready to go home,” Barnes said.

As she waited for her 1:30 pm flight, Delta attendants prowled the stream of travelers, calling out imminent flights. Those connected with the departing-soon flights got instant access to a shorter line as the airline grappled with the double traveler crush of a winter Sunday in Fort Lauderdale and the deferred departures brought on by Friday’s shutdown of the airport.

As the wait neared the two-hour mark just to check luggage, passengers bracing for delays saw their concerns justified two days after the shooting.

Frank Lassiter arrived at 10:45 am for his 1:55 p.m. Delta flight to Louisville, Kentucky after a Keys fishing trip. He had the spot in line behind Barnes.

“It’s a small inconvenience,” he said, “compared to what happened.”

Hometown reaction

Federal prosecutors charged suspected gunman Esteban Santiago on Saturday, saying he planned the attack. Santiago was a troubled army veteran who grew up in Puerto Rico and served in Iraq as an Army private with the Puerto Rico National Guard.

At Santiago’s childhood home on the outskirts of Peñuelas, Puerto Rico, residents had blocked the driveway with two cars Sunday morning and were fending off journalists.

“Please leave us alone, we need time,” a woman said. “You have to understand, everyone knows us here and we don’t know any of the victims.”

Peñuelas, a town of some 24,000 in the southwestern part of the island, is about 1.5 hours from capital San Juan.

Even as people described it as a close community, few acknowledged knowing the Santiago family. At the local police station, officers said Santiago had never been on their radar.

Father Orlando Rivera, the local priest, said the only things he knew about the family he’d seen on TV. But he said the news had rattled the town.

“This is a tight-knit community and very supportive,” he said. “But everybody is in shocked silence, because this is so unheard of.”

Even those who didn’t know him, however, said he was part of a larger trend — young people leaving town due to lack of employment and opportunities.

“You can either work for the local government, the police, or join the army,” said Mery Alvardo, a life-long resident of Peñuelas. “This entire area is poor and struggling.”

Alberto Feliciano, who was the town’s mayor from 1988 to 1992, said there used to be a pharmaceutical factory, a tie factory and a petrochemical plant that provided jobs, but they’ve all closed. Now, one of the biggest local employers is a small candle factory, he said.

Given the circumstances, many youth join the military.

“For kids in school here, when the National Guard comes recruiting, they see it as one of their few options,” Feliciano said. “The military gives them a chance to go to the United States — it’s an economic option.”

The Associated Press and CBS4 contributed to this report.

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