The dramatic shooting incident at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Friday afternoon ended with 13 people shot and five of them dead but one person avoided serious injury thanks to a book bag and his MacBook.
Steve Frappier, 37, an Atlanta school counselor and former director of college counseling at Ransom Everglades, was in town for an education conference and had just gotten down to baggage claim. As people clustered around to get their suitcases, Frappier heard loud firecracker noises but, “I didn’t think much of it because in an airport, there’s always loud sounds.”
But then he heard someone yell out: “He’s got a gun! Get down!”
Everyone in the area hit the floor. Frappier watched as a man, identified by law enforcement as Esteban Santiago, 26, calmly began firing at people.
“He never said anything the entire time,” Frappier said. “He was cool, calm and collected. He never grimaced.”
As luggage began spilling onto him from the conveyor belt, Frappier said he saw a man get shot in the head. “His wife was screaming, hovering over him,” he said.
He then felt a muffled impact on his back and thought it was just luggage that fell on him.
It wasn’t until after the gunman surrendered that Frappier got up in a daze and went to the bathroom. He opened his backpack and saw a bullet hole in his school-issued Macbook Pro.
He surrendered his backpack to FBI agents, who found the 9 mm bullet inside the backpack, where it fell after hitting the computer.
“If I didn’t have that backpack on, the bullet would have shot me between the shoulders,” Frappier said. “It still doesn’t feel real.”