Airport shooter blamed Central Intelligence Agency, 'jihadi chat rooms'; held without bond


During Esteban Ruiz Santiago's bond hearing Tuesday, FBI agents testified that the military veteran said he spoke with other jihadis online before the shooting, Business Insider reports. The office turned him over to the local police.

Esteban Santiago, 26, is the suspected gunman behind the January 6 shooting at a baggage claim at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport that killed five and injured six others.

Citing public records opened last week, Sunshine State News adds that Santiago converted to Islam and created a "jihadist identity" for himself, assuming the Islamic name Aashiq Hammad, prior to joining the U.S. Army. He had also claimed the government was controlling his mind in November, when he walked into an Alaska FBI office and said he was being made to watch terrorist propaganda.

Santiago also told Ferlazzo, who conducted the interview, that he had been in contact with people with similar views in jihadi chat rooms who were also planning attacks.

The terrorist has already been charged with using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a violent crime; performing a violent act against a person at an airport serving worldwide civil aviation that caused serious bodily injury; and killing a person with a firearm.

The Tuesday morning hearing was to determine whether Esteban Santiago, 26, would be held in custody until his capital trial.

The terror group has not yet claimed responsibility for the attack which happened on January 6 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

"At various points...he said he carried out the attack because of government mind control", prosecutor Ricardo Del Toro said.

Authorities have said that Santiago confessed to the mass shooting, which they said he perpetrated after disembarking a plane from Anchorage and collecting a checked bag containing a Walther 9 mm pistol and two magazines.

Santiago revealed before the attack that he was hearing voices and that the Central Intelligence Agency had been controlling his mind, federal authorities and the killer's brother Bryan Santiago have revealed.

Santiago, an Iraq war veteran, was first interviewed by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and detectives at the airport.

His next court date is January 30.