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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/AP) — A new lawsuit claims a Broward Sheriff’s detective’s retirement party got in the way of security before the mass shooting in 2017 that killed five people and wounded six at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday on behalf of Ann Andres of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Her husband Terry Andres was one of the five shot and killed at their airport on Jan. 6, 2017.
The lawsuit claims Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies who should have been on duty at an airport baggage claim area were instead at the party eating cake.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from the sheriff’s office, the Broward County Commission, which overseas the airport’s operations, Delta Airlines and three security companies. The sheriff’s office had no immediate comment Friday.
Twenty-eight-year-old Esteban Santiago of Anchorage, Alaska, pleaded guilty in May to federal charges in the shooting and faces life in prison at his sentencing scheduled for August 17.
Santiago had flown one way from Alaska, checking only a handgun and ammunition in a locked case. He later retrieved his checked semiautomatic 9 mm handgun from Delta, loaded it in a restroom and started shooting, the lawsuit says.
Santiago surrendered to law enforcement immediately and confessed to the shooting, according to the FBI.
The National Guard Iraq war veteran was briefly hospitalized in Alaska about two months before the airport shooting after complaining of mental problems but was released with no restrictions on possessing a gun.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)