The suspected gunman appeared to be shooting randomly into a crowd as panicked travelers took cover from a barrage of bullets — and he only stopped when the ammo ran out, according to witnesses. Multiple senior law enforcement sources identified the suspect as Esteban Santiago, 26, and said he had a military ID on him.
Law enforcement officials told NBC News they believe Santiago arrived on a flight from Canada, picked up his firearm at baggage claim and then began the shooting spree.
An injured woman is taken into Broward Health Trauma Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after a shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Jan. 6, 2017.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference the shooter was apprehended without incident, and the situation was "fluid and active" while the airport remained closed. Federal authorities declined to give details about the shooter or his weapon, and said he was being interviewed to determine a motive.
The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport, located about 25 miles north of Miami, tweeted the incident occurred at a baggage claim inside Terminal 2. Calls came in around 11:55 a.m.
"At first we thought it was firecrackers," Mark Lea, 53, told MSNBC. "Everyone started screaming and running. The shooter made his way down through baggage claim. He had what looked like a 9 mm and emptied his entire clip. People were trying to run."
Lea said the shooting only stopped because the gunman ran out of bullets.
John Schicher told MSNBC he had just arrived at baggage claim with his wife and mother-in-law when the gunman started firing just feet away from him.
"He was holding a black handgun and he was just shooting randomly into the crowd," Schicher, who said he was "in shock," told MSNBC. "There were elderly people who were shot and killed, there were two people to my left and two people to my right that were shot."
The airport says over 73,000 travelers pass through each day.