Audio recordings released of airport gunman's previous court appearances in Alaska

Former co-worker says he's shocked by Esteban Santiago's alleged actions

By Michael Seiden - Reporter

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Prosecutors in Alaska released audio recordings Wednesday from Esteban Santiago's domestic violence case.

In one of the recordings, the judge tells the accused gunman in the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting that he can't kick his girlfriend out of their apartment.

"Sir, did you see the video tape of your rights?" the judge asked.  

"Yes, sir," Santiago said.

"A copy of complaint?" The judge asked.

"Yes," Santiago replied.

Wednesday was the first time the public heard the voice of the man allegedly seen on airport security footage opening fire last Friday inside the baggage claim area of Terminal 2 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

In the newly-released audio recordings from last January, Santiago was making his first court appearance on domestic violence charges after police said he tried to strangle his 40-year-old girlfriend inside their Anchorage apartment.

At one point, he asked the judge to kick his girlfriend out of their home.  

"The conditions would be that you do not return to the victim's residence and you have no contact or indirect contact with her," the judge said.

"That's my apartment," Santiago responded. 

"But you just can't go in there and throw her out," the judge said.

Bail was set at $1,000 in the case.

Santiago appeared in court two months later. This time prosecutors agreed to throw out the charges as long as Santiago completed a 12-week anger management course.

"I think that he has good prospects for rehabilitation and hopefully he will not end up with any charges on his record as a result of this," his attorney at the time said. 

The case was eventually dropped.

Prosecutors said Santiago never turned in any paperwork, so it's unclear whether he completed the anger management course.

James Foster, who worked with Santiago, said he can't find the words to feel about the shooting. 

"He wasn't a violent person," Foster said. "It blows my mind that someone that close to me and that authoritative would want to do that." 

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