FBI agents search garbage at Alaska motel where accused FLL gunman was staying
Agents search for computer, notebooks belonging to Esteban Santiago
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – FBI agents spent the weekend searching through garbage at a motel just outside downtown Anchorage where Esteban Santiago was staying before he took a flight to Fort Lauderdale and was accused of ambushing and shooting travelers in the baggage claim area.
Authorities were searching for computers and notebooks belonging to the 26-year-old military veteran, who is accused of killing five people on Friday and injuring six others.
He is believed to have sold a laptop to a pawn shop before his flight.
"I never saw him with a gun. I never saw him with anything," Chon Saavedra, who was also staying at the motel, said.
Saavedra, a bus driver for the public school district, said he had several encounters with Santiago while he was staying at the motel.
He said he spoke to Santiago the night before he left for South Florida.
"He was just kind of quiet and didn't say much," Saavedra said.
By the time Saavedra got home from work on Friday, federal investigators were already at the motel clearing out rooms, interviewing guests and showing photos of the accused murderer.
"It was like a calm shock," Saavedra said. "I know that guy. I saw him a couple of days ago."
Surveillance video captured Friday's massacre in Terminal 2 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Saavedra told Local 10 News that he wonders whether he could have done more to stop the attack.
"Or at least talked to him more so that, you know, maybe he would have said more to me," he said.
Meanwhile, Santiago's girlfriend was escorted into her apartment Monday and refused to comment to reporters.
"I saw his girlfriend and child more than him and nothing stood out at all," neighbor Mick Bradford said.
On Monday night Santago's girlfriend had her daughter read a statement.
"My deepest condolences to the innocent people who lost their lives and/or were injured. My heart's warmest sincerities go out to the families, friends, my mother, my brother and sisters (SIC)" she said. "From the Peterson's we all hope the victims of this see justice. We will be asking for more privacy while we mourn. Thank you and God bless America, guys."
Santiago faced charges in Alaska after police said his girlfriend called 911 because he had kicked in a bedroom door before choking her.
The charge was eventually dropped but witnesses said there were other unknown problems, which is why he moved into the motel.
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