The suspected gunman in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida mass-shooting that killed give and injured a number of others served in the National Guard, deploying at least once to Iraq. His aunt said that while overseas he “lost his mind.”
[Suspected gunman Esteban Santiago-Ruiz] was hospitalized for mental health issues after returning from a year-long tour in Iraq about five years ago, his aunt said.
“He lost his mind,” Ruiz Rivera said in Spanish.
Her husband, Hernan Rivera, said he was unsure why Santiago-Ruiz might have opened fire in the baggage claim area of the Florida airport.
“No idea. Only thing I could tell you was when he came out of Iraq, he wasn’t feeling too good,” Hernan Rivera said.
The alleged gunman’s brother, Bryan Santiago, said he spoke recently to Esteban’s girlfriend who told him he was getting psychological treatment while living in Alaska. Reports suggested he arrived in Florida on a flight from Canada, but Air Canada denied that he was their passenger.
Officials said that the alleged gunman arrived at the Fort Lauderdale airport and retrieved his suitcase in which he had a gun and ammunition. “He claimed his bag and took the gun from baggage and went into the bathroom to load it. Came out shooting people in baggage claim,” Broward Commissioner Chip LaMarca said.
NEW: In Nov. 2016, FLL suspect walked into FBI office in Anchorage, claiming he was being forced to fight for ISIS, sources tell CBS News.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 6, 2017
CBS News reports that the suspect allegedly walked into the FBI’s offices in Anchorage, Alaska in November of 2016. He was there claiming “he was being forced to right for” the so-called Islamic State. He was reportedly “sent to a psychiatric hospital.” Officials also told CBS that he “got into an argument” on his flight, though there is no official word that this played a role in the motive for the rampage shooting.
This is a developing story. Keep checking the front page of Latest.com for the most recent updates.
Featured image via Fort Lauderdale Police