Chaos ensues after reports of 2nd gunman at Fort Lauderdale airport

War veteran kills 5, wounds 8 during shooting at baggage claim area

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – After 13 people were shot at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport, chaos ensued for hours on Friday and Saturday morning. For those who didn't leave in an ambulance, it took hours to find their way out of the airport.

Five died. A war veteran was arrested. And thousands ran for their lives. Some struggled to hide. Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said some 30 to 40 people were injured in the mayhem. Some suffered scrapes, bruises and broken bones. 

"People just started running and the shooter was downstairs and we are all screaming and hiding under benches," said Barbara Siegel, who was traveling from Montreal. 

Federal and local authorities took over the airport -- treating almost everyone as a possible suspect. A lack of information fueled speculation. And with safety as a priority, many travelers were trapped inside their planes for hours.

"All day I've heard people talking about second incidences," Catie Rutledge wrote on Instagram. "After waiting on the tarmac for hours and hunting someone down to get our bags, we are now waiting for a bus, so that we can leave the airport."

There was panic when authorities feared there was a second gunman. Law enforcement asked travelers to seek shelter. Fear prompted many to say their final good byes to loved ones. Some frightened parents were in tears as they tried to protect their children. 

Authorities later learned the gunman was alone and the second shooting was a false alarm. Tammy Gurowski was among those who said that despite the fear and inconvenience, they felt grateful. 

"We woke up and we are here," Gurowski said. "They woke up and they are not, so we are lucky."

About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.