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US veteran guns down 5 at Fort Lauderdale airport, witness says he was randomly shooting

 2017-01-07 04:39:06.0

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An Army veteran who complained that the government was controlling his mind drew a gun from his checked luggage on arrival at the Fort Lauderdale airport and opened fire in the baggage claim area Friday, killing five people and wounding eight, authorities said. He was taken into custody after throwing his empty weapon down and lying spread-eagle on the ground, one witness said.

�People started kind of screaming and trying to get out of any door they could or hide under the chairs,� the witness, Mark Lea, told MSNBC.�He just kind of continued coming in, just randomly shooting at people, no rhyme or reason to it.� The gunman was identified as 26 year-old Esteban Santiago of Anchorage, Alaska, who served in Iraq with the National Guard but was demoted and discharged last year for unsatisfactory performance. His brother said he had been receiving psychological treatment recently.

A law enforcement official told The Associated Press that Santiago had walked into the FBI office in Anchorage in November to say that the U.S. government was controlling his mind and making him watch Islamic State videos. Agents questioned an agitated and disjointed-sounding Santiago and then called police, who took him for a mental health evaluation, according to the official, who was not authorized to discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity. The official said Santiago did not appear intent on hurting anyone.

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