MIAMI: A gunman opened fire Friday at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport, a major tourist hub in Florida, killing five people and injuring eight, and sending panicked travelers fleeing for safety.
Broward County Sheriff’s office tweeted that a suspect was in custody following the shooting that broke out around midday, shutting down the international airport.
The Sheriff’s office said five people were dead and eight had been taken to an area hospital.
Florida Senator Bill Nelson identified the shooter as Estaban Nelson.
“He had a military ID, we don’t know if it is current, but every time you get a bunch of people like at baggage claim or like outside of TSA (Transportation Security Administration) where you’re going to security or lines at the ticket counter, it’s a soft target,” Nelson told CNN.
Mayor Barbara Sharief said the gunman appeared to have acted alone.
“He was a lone shooter, and we have no evidence at this time that he was acting with anyone else. He is in custody, and we are currently investigating,” Sharief told CNN.
Governor Rick Scott rushed to the airport to be briefed on the shooting.
President-elect Donald Trump said he had just spoken with Scott, and was “monitoring the terrible situation in Florida.”
“Thoughts and prayers for all. Stay safe!” he tweeted.
Fort Lauderdale is a major tourist hub and beach resort in the greater Miami area.
The airport said the incident broke out in the baggage claim area of Terminal 2.
“All services are temporarily suspended at #FLL. Please contact your air carrier about your flight information,” it tweeted.
Passengers ran for safety, while others clustered on the tarmac.
Ari Fleischer, a former White House spokesman, tweeted: “I’m at the Ft Lauderdale Airport. Shots have been fired. Everyone is running.”
Cellphone video footage broadcast by local Fox television affiliate Channel 7 showed one person lying blooded on the floor, and several others on their knees.
Some 20 miles (30 km) north of Miami, the Fort Lauderdale airport is near cruise line terminals at Port Everglades.