MIAMI, FL — The man who committed a mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport which left five people dead and six wounded was sentenced on Friday to five consecutive life sentences in prison plus 120 years, according to reports. Esteban Santiago, 28, of Alaska, had pleaded guilty to the Jan. 6, 2017 shooting as part of a plea deal.
Santiago, 28, a former Puerto Rico and Alaska National Guardsman and veteran of Iraq, was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but ruled competent to understand legal proceedings with the help of anti-psychotics. He opened fire with a semiautomatic pistol in the baggage claim area of the airport.
The Associated Press reports U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom as calling the shooting “85 seconds of evil.”
She told Santiago “You destroyed families in this senseless attack.”
Santiago pleaded guilty to five counts of committing violence to cause death at an international airport and six counts of violence to cause bodily injury at an international airport. As a part of the plea, he avoided the death sentence and will spend the rest of his life in prison, and then some.
The AP reports he got a handgun from checked luggage, went to a bathroom to load the weapon, and then fired 15 shots and innocent people in the baggage claim area.
Initially, Santiago claimed he was under government mind control. He then said he went on the rampage in support of the so-called Islamic State, a claim which is unfounded, the AP reports.
“While nothing can ever heal the wounds inflicted by the defendant’s unspeakable and horrific acts of violence, we hope that the life sentence imposed today provides at least some sense of justice for the victims and their loved ones,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg said following Santiago’s sentencing, according to Local 10 News.
Article image: In this Jan. 30, 2017, AP file photo, Esteban Santiago, center, is led from the Broward County jail for an arraignment in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Sentencing is set Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, for Santiago, a 28-year-old Alaska man who pleaded guilty in the January 2017 Florida airport shooting that left five people dead and six wounded. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
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