A shooter wearing
a Star Wars T-shirt opened fire at a baggage carousel at Fort
Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday, killing at least
five people before being taken into custody, officials and witnesses
Five people died and eight more were wounded in the incident, the local sheriff’s office said.
shooter, who said nothing, appeared to be a man in his 20s wearing a
Star Wars T-shirt who was shot by police as he attempted to reload,
MSNBC reported, citing witnesses.
The Florida attack was the latest
in a series of mass shootings that have plagued the United States in
recent years, some inspired by militants with an extreme view of Islam,
others who are loners or mentally disturbed who have easy access to
weapons under U.S. gun laws.
90 minutes after the attack, when the scene had appeared calm, panic
broke out anew with passengers and police running frantically about the
Dozens of police sprinted back and forth with automatic weapons drawn, directing a large group of travelers.
police officer screamed “Get down, get down!” from a parking garage
across the street from the airport terminal, a Reuters reporter
who told MSNBC he saw the attack, described the shooter as a “slender
man” who was “directly firing at us” while passengers waited for their
bags to come off the carousel.
“I put my head down and prayed,” Schlicher said, adding that his wife gave first aid to someone who had been shot in the head.
His mother-in-law used her sweater to tend to another victim but it turned out that victim was already dead, Schlicher said.
The shooter reloaded once for a second burst of shooting, Schlicher said, but he could not say how many bullets were fired.
The shooting took place at the Terminal 2 baggage claim, said a post on the airport’s Twitter account.
Mark Lea, another eyewitness, told MSNBC “there was no rhyme or reason to it.”
“He didn’t say anything, he was quiet the whole time, he didn’t yell anything,” Lea said.
Security officials corralled passengers underneath jetways and on the runway apron, according to images on cable news networks.
Fleischer, a former press secretary for U.S. President George W. Bush,
said on Twitter shots were fired and “everyone is running.”
“All seems calm now but the police aren’t letting anyone out of the airport – at least not the area where I am,” he said.
A woman tended to a bleeding, seated
man outside an airport building, according to a photo posted on Twitter
by a Michigan information technology company.
Broward Sheriff’s Office received a call at about 12:55 p.m. local time
about shots fired at 100 Terminal Drive at the airport, the department
wrote on Twitter.
All services were temporarily suspended, the airport’s Twitter feed said.
Florida Governor Rick Scott was traveling to Fort Lauderdale to be briefed by law enforcement, his office said in a statement.
FBI’s Miami office was “aware of the situation” and in contact with
local authorities, a spokesman said in an email. No further information
was immediately available.
Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is the second largest in
South Florida, serving as an intercontinental gateway, with Miami
International Airport known as the primary airport for international
flights in the area.