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Five killed in Fort Lauderdale airport shooting

Five people have been killed after a gunman opened fire in the crowded baggage claim area of Fort Lauderdale airport in Florida on Friday.

The county sheriff’s office said that five people were dead and eight had been injured in the incident at the baggage carousel, which began shortly before 1pm.

“We still have people fighting for their lives in the hospital,” said Rick Scott, Florida’s governor.

The gunman was taken into custody at the airport having arrived on a flight with the gun in his checked luggage, a Broward county commissioner said on Twitter.

The alleged shooter was Esteban Santiago, 26, who had a US military identification, said Bill Nelson, US senator of Florida.

The US authorities gave no details on a possible motive.

“People started kind of screaming and trying to get out of any door they could or hide under the chairs,” witness Mark Lea told MSNBC. “He just kind of continued coming in, just randomly shooting at people, no rhyme or reason to it.”

When the shooter ran out of ammunition Mr Lea said he threw down his weapon and “laid spread-eagle on the ground until the officer came up to him”.

A person named Esteban Santiago was discharged honourably from the Army National Guard last year, ABC News reported.

Airline passengers in the US are allowed to travel with guns as long as they are declared, put in a checked bag, unloaded and locked in a container.

The gunman wore a Star Wars T-shirt and said nothing as he fired, witnesses told MSNBC.

The shooting was the latest in a string of mass shootings that have rocked the US.

Ari Fleischer, a former press secretary for President George W Bush, who was at the airport tweeted at about 1pm EST: “Shots have been fired. Everyone is running.”

Soon after the shooting, the Fort Lauderdale airport tweeted that all services at the airport had been “temporarily suspended”. The attack sent passengers fleeing out of the terminal and on to the runway.

A White House spokesman said that President Barack Obama had been briefed on the situation and “will be kept updated as the investigation unfolds”.

Donald Trump, the president-elect, tweeted: “Monitoring the terrible situation in Florida. Just spoke to [Florida] Governor [Rick] Scott. Thoughts and prayers for all. Stay safe!”

Police marksmen react to the shootings at Fort Lauderdale on Friday © Getty

Via FT