FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A man matching the description of the Fort Lauderdale airport gunman told the FBI two months ago that the government was forcing him to watch ISIS videos, officials said Friday afternoon.
Sources said the man was believed to be suspected gunman Esteban Santiago-Ruiz, 26, of Anchorage, Alaska. Sources said he walked into FBI offices in Anchorage and made the report, and agents were so concerned about him that they took him to a mental health facility.
FBI Miami Special Agent-in-Charge George Piro said late Friday night said Santiago-Ruiz voluntarily walked into the Anchorage field office and was interviewed by agents. He was turned over to local police custody, and police took him to the mental health facility, Piro said.
Federal law enforcement sources also said the gunman got into a quarrel on one leg of his travel from Alaska to Florida.
Law enforcement sources told CBS News he traveled from Alaska to Minnesota and then from Minnesota to Florida. The second leg of the trip was on a Delta flight. Investigators said there was no nexus to terrorism.
The gunman’s motive remained under investigation late Friday, but authorities were looking into whether the quarrel on the plane sparked the shooting in Fort Lauderdale.
The Associated Press reported Santiago-Ruiz’s brother, Bryan Santiago, said the accused shooter was receiving psychological treatment in Alaska.
Esteban Santiago-Ruiz deployed to Iraq in 2010, and served in the National Guard in Alaska until he was discharged for unsatisfactory performance last year, CBS News reported.
Santiago-Ruiz’s aunt, Maria Ruiz Rivera of Union City, told NJ.com that her nephew “lost his mind” in Iraq.
Speaking on CBSN Friday night, Florida Gov. Rick Scott declined to answer a question about whether someone with a background such as Santiago-Ruiz’s should be allowed to own a firearm.
“Right now, there’s a lot of unanswered questions. We have an active investigation going on. There’s going to be plenty of time for politics when we understand what happened,” Scott told CBS News’ Vladimir Duthiers. “Right now, let’s find out what happened, why it happened; hold whoever is responsible responsible.”
The gunman pulled a gun out of a bag, loaded it in a bathroom and started shooting, killing five people and wounding at least eight, according to a county official.
Chip LaMarca, a Broward County commissioner, said the shooter was a passenger on a Air Canada flight and was traveling with a checked gun.
“After he claimed his bag, he went into the bathroom and loaded the gun and started shooting. We don’t know why,” LaMarca said.
But Air Canada said they have no record of a passenger by that name or anyone checking guns on any flight.
Law enforcement sources told CBS News Santiago-Ruiz was born in New Jersey. He spent most of his time in Puerto Rico before going to Alaska.
The gunman was reportedly wearing ‘Star Wars’ shirt at the time of the shooting, CBS Miami reported.
A motive for the shooting is not known.
“We don’t know a motive at this point,” Nelson said. “This could well be someone who is mentally deranged, or in fact it could be someone who had a much more sinister motive that we have to worry about every day, and that is terrorism. We can’t conclude that.”
Early indications show that the FBI is not seeing links to terrorism, according to CBS News’ Kris Van Cleave.
The suspect was unharmed and law enforcement did not fire any shots, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. He is in custody being questioned by the FBI and sheriff’s deputies.
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