It’s a test, it’s only a test at FLL as they conduct active shooter training

In 2017, a man starting shooting in baggage claim area of Terminal 2, killing 5 people

Esteban Santiago killed five people and injured six at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in 2017.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – On Jan. 6, 2017, Esteban Santiago flew from Anchorage, Alaska, where he was living, to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

He had a handgun checked in his luggage and followed the TSA’s protocols for checking the gun. He then retrieved his bag, took out the gun, loaded it in a bathroom, and opened fire in the baggage claim area of Terminal 2.

Five people died and six others were injured. He was sentenced to life in prison in August 2018.

In 2018 and 2019, the airport conducted realistic active shooter drills and is staging another one. It will test the airport’s emergency preparedness and response. It will also test the operations of the airport’s Emergency Operations Center, off-site “Family Reception Centers” using a Dania Beach hotel, and “victim” transports to hospitals in Broward County, according to a news release from the airport. FLL says 500 volunteers and first responders will be involved in the exercise.

Law enforcement will engage with multiple assailants, who are actors, and they will use live “simunition” gunfire, which is non-lethal training ammunition to create fictional but realistic scenarios.

Volunteers will pose as people in Concourse A at gates, passenger waiting areas, outside of airport shops and restaurants in an effort to “create as realistic scenes as possible.”

The training is called Operation Nightingale and will begin Thursday, June 23 at 11 p.m. and continue until 3 a.m.

FLL officials do not expect any impact on travelers since it has been scheduled after regular business hours.


About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.