An FBI agent told a Federal Judge that the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport shooter claims to be an ISIS fighter. On Tuesday, Esteban Santiago made another appearance in Federal court. Santiago murdered five fellow travelers on January 6, 2017 at the baggage claim area of terminal two.
According to published reports, FBI Agent Michael Ferlazzo said Santiago admitted he carried out the attack on behalf of ISIS. Santiago claimed he spoke to other potential terrorists when he visited jihadist online chat rooms. Santiago was denied bond and will remain in the Broward County Jail in Fort Lauderdale.
Investigators said Santiago spoke with them for about six hours. “The first few hours of his ‘confession’ were audio recorded and all but about 10 minutes of his interview at the FBI office was recorded on video,” Ferlazzo testified.
These statements in open court seem to bolster earlier reports that Santiago created social media accounts in 2007 under an Islamic name. While some politicians were quick to discount terrorism as the motive, the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the FBI never ruled out terrorism as Santiago’s motive.