APD confirms Ft. Lauderdale shooter is Anchorage resident
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Authorities say five people were killed and eight were wounded after a lone suspect opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, international airport.
A spokesperson with the Anchorage Police Department has confirmed the suspect arrested in connection with the shooting is an Anchorage resident.
Friday afternoon, there was heavy law enforcement presence near the area of 15th Avenue and Medfra Street. Neighbor Perette Carter, who's lived there for 30 years, said Ruiz lived at 1310 1/2 Medfra Street for two years and was "pleasant." A mailbox at the home also listed him as a resident.
"I just thank God that he didn't shoot anybody down here and I just feel bad for the people in Florida, that what he did, but you know, he's captured and that's a good thing," Carter said.
The agency was concerned and took him to get psychiatric help. The FBI did not think he was a follower of ISIS at that point, just that he suffered from a mental illness, CBS reported.
Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead, spokesperson for the Alaska National Guard, confirmed Santiago Ruiz was formerly a member of the Alaska Army National Guard. She wrote in an email Friday that he was discharged from the organization in August 2016 for "unsatisfactory performance." He was stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. His prior military service includes a deployment with the Puerto Rico National Guard to Iraq from April 2010 to February 2011.
The Broward County Sheriff's Office confirmed the deaths following Friday afternoon's shooting.
"We are aware of the situation and have no further statement at this time," Alaska FBI spokesperson Staci Feger-Pellessier told KTVA.
Law enforcement sources say the suspect took Delta overnight "red-eye" flight 1088 out of Anchorage Thursday to Minneapolis then flew on Delta 2182 to Fort Lauderdale.
Authorities in Florida told reporters Friday that the suspect was a passenger on a Canadian flight -- a statement refuted by the Canadian Embassy and later corrected -- checked a gun, then loaded it in the bathroom after claiming his bag.
News stations showed video of medics taking care of a bleeding victim outside the airport. Helicopters hovering over the scene showed hundreds of people standing on the tarmac as an ambulance drove by and numerous law enforcement officers, including tactical units, rushed to the scene.
Sheriff Scott Israel says the gunman was not harmed and that law enforcement did not fire any shots. He says it is not yet known if the shooting was an act of terror.
Israel also says there was nothing to substantiate reports of a second shooting at the airport.
Former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer tweeted that he was at the airport when shots were fired and "everyone is running."