FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The accused gunman in the deadly shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport told investigators that the attack was planned.
What he is accused of doing could ultimately end up costing him his own life, with the death penalty.
Meanwhile, the airport is finally back in business as tens of thousands of passengers who were stuck are trying to finally make their way back to their destination.
After 300 cancellations Friday, flights are getting back to normal at the airport but cleanup from the carnage in terminal two’s baggage claim continues.
That’s where investigators say Esteban Santiago went on a shooting spree after retrieving his checked bag, killing five and wounding six.
The FBI is still trying to figure out why Santiago picked Fort Lauderdale.
“We’ve conducted roughly 175 witness interviews, we’ve recovered video and physical evidence and we continue to peruse every investigative lead,” said Special Agent George Piro with the FBI.
Federal prosecutors have charged Santiago, a former Alaskan National Guardsman and Iraq War veteran, with three offenses, including murder that could bring him the death penalty.
According to investigators, Santiago fired ten to fifteen rounds during the rampage, aiming at his victims heads; walking while shooting in a methodical manner and say he planned the attack.
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a frequent flyer through Fort Lauderdale, said the tragedy could bring change.
“We’ve got to review whether or not you should be able to bring firearms in your checked bag or certainly at the very least, how you’re reunited with those firearms,” said Wasserman Schultz. “And the other thing we absolutely have to address is, and I don’t think this requires much thought, it’s just gonna require us to bite the bullet, no pun intended, invest in securing our baggage claim areas.”
During the panic after the shooting, which included several false alarms, 25,000 bags, purses and personal items were left at the airport.
They are still being sorted and returned.
Passengers without identification lined up at a mobile Department of Motor Vehicles office outside terminal one where they are being issued 60 day temporary ID cards.
One of those people is Brittany Berg, who left her wallet, passport and laptop during Friday’s chaos.
“Right now I think a lot of us are just concerned about our carry-ons,” said Berg. “I know someone who didn’t even have a phone with them.”
The ID’s provided a welcomed relief for passengers still dealing with the fear and frustration of this airport attack.
Terminal’s one, three and four were reopened Saturday morning but operational portions of terminal two, where the attack happened, remain closed.