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Gunman kills 5 at Fort Lauderdale airport shooting, shooter in custody

Ft. Lauderdale closed to flights
Ft. Lauderdale closed to flights

A shooter opened fire at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida earlier on Friday, killing five people and wounding multiple others, law enforcement officials said.

The shooter was in custody — unharmed and under interrogation — the Broward County Sheriff's office said, but the situation remained "fluid and active."

Multiple law enforcement sources identified the suspect as New Jersey–born Esteban Santiago, 26, and said he had a military ID on him at the time of his capture.

All flights were grounded and additional areas of the airport were being evacuated and cleared. The motive for the attack, which started shortly before 1 p.m., was not known, according to law enforcement officials.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott held a news conference with Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel shortly after 5:15 p.m. ET. He reconfirmed the death toll of five people and said he learned about the incident earlier while he was in Fort Myers.

The governor said he reached out to President-elect Donald Trump to update him and Vice President-elect Mike Pence as the situation unfolded. Gov. Scott said he and President Barack Obama have not reached to each other.

Vice President-elect Pence spoke to reporters outside of Trump Tower in Manhattan around 5:50 p.m., ET, saying the shooting was a "heartbreaking loss of life" and "the hearts of every American are in Fort Lauderdale tonight." Pence also briefly remarked on the "constructive and respectful dialogue" he and Trump had with the leaders of intelligence community during their briefing earlier Friday.

In an earlier news conference, law enforcement officials said they did not fire any shots during the gunman's capture. They also confirmed — despite unconfirmed reports suggesting otherwise — that no additional shots were fired at the airport at any time after the attack.

SWAT teams and law enforcement officials will work to clear every area of the airport before reopening, they said. As a precaution, the Broward Sheriff's Office bomb squad detonated a suspicious package at the airport. That package was later found to be no threat.

The airport tweeted that the shooting took place at the Terminal 2 baggage claim area in the lower level, adding that the airport would be closed for an extended period of time.

Shortly after the shooting, the Transportation Security Administration warned people at the airport to shelter in place and described it as an active shooter situation.

Sources involved in the investigation told NBC News — and publicly available flight information confirmed — that the gunman flew on two separate Delta Air Lines flights from Anchorage, Alaska, to Minneapolis-St. Paul and on to Fort Lauderdale.

Photo of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport shooter, Esteban Santiago.
Courtesy: Estaban Family.

In a statement, Delta CEO Ed Bastian extended his condolences to the people of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County. The airline also gave details on how it will proceed with the investigation.

"Delta is working closely with law enforcement in their investigation, and out of respect to that investigation, details about the suspect will come from law enforcement officials," the company said.

Law enforcement officials had previously told NBC News they believed the shooter had arrived on a flight from Canada, picked up his firearm at baggage claim and began firing. However, Canada's largest airline, Air Canada, confirmed via Twitter that it had no record of any passenger by the gunman's name — nor checked guns — on any of its flights to Fort Lauderdale.

Travelers gathered on the tarmac of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport fleeing an active shooter on Jan. 6, 2017.

Earlier, hundreds of passengers and airport workers could be seen gathering and evacuating via the tarmac.

Both the Los Angeles and the Miami international airports said they were deploying additional resources in light of the attack.

American Airlines said in a news release it was canceling all of its flights into the Fort Lauderdale airport on Friday. The airline confirmed two of its flights landed safely at the airport and were being held away from the terminal. Two other flights were diverted to other airports.

The airport has four terminals and serves more than 73,000 travelers every day. It ranks 21st in the U.S. in total passenger traffic, with more than 650 commercial flights a day.

President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence tweeted about the situation.

@realDonaldTrump: Monitoring the terrible situation in Florida. Just spoke to Governor Scott. Thoughts and prayers for all. Stay safe!

@mike_pence: Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and our first responders in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

A shooting victim is unloaded from an emergency vehicle and taken into Broward Health Trauma Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. Authorities said multiple people have died after a lone suspect opened fire at the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, international airport.
Taimy Alvarez | South Florida Sun-Sentinel | AP

Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer was at the airport at the time of the shooting and tweeted that shots had been fired.

@AriFleischer: I'm at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. Shots have been fired. Everyone is running.

@AriFleischer: All seems calm now but the police aren't letting anyone out of the airport - at least not the area where I am.

The FBI told CNBC it was aware of the situation and was in contact with local authorities, but no further information was available.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

—NBC News contributed to this report.