According to FBI special agent Michael Ferlazzo’s testimony on Tuesday, the Fort Lauderdale airport shooter told FBI agents that he gunned down the victims on behalf of ISIS. Ferlazzo did not elaborate on whether or not Esteban Santiago, the man who killed five and injured another eight people in the baggage claim area of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport on January 6th, had links to the Islamic terror organization or was simply inspired by them.
Before he carried out the attack, Santiago reportedly told the FBI in Alaska that he was hearing voices in his head and that he believed the CIA was controlling his mind, claims he also made during his initial interrogation after the attack. Ferlazzo testified that once the perpetrator was transferred to the FBI office in Florida, that he never again mentioned mind control and only stated that he was inspired by ISIS. Ferlazzo also stated that Santiago claimed to have been having online interactions in jihadist chat rooms and spoke to like-minded individuals who were planning on executing attacks as well.
The Islamic terror group has not claimed responsibility for the attack.
Santiago is charged with using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence and performing an act of violence against a person at an airport serving international civil aviation that caused serious bodily injury, which are punishable by death. He is also charged with causing the death of a person through the use of a firearm, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The judge at his bond hearing on Tuesday ruled that Santiago be held without bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for January 30.