Alleged airport gunman had several run-ins with Anchorage police

Investigators work in Terminal 2 at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Saturday, the day after a shooting in the baggage area. Authorities say Army veteran Esteban Santiago of Anchorage, Alaska, drew a gun from his checked luggage on arrival and opened fire on fellow travelers.

The alleged Florida airport gunman had several run-ins with law enforcement over the last year. Police Chief Chris Tolley in Anchorage detailed the encounters with Esteban Santiago, of Anchorage, at a news conference Saturday.


— Jan. 11, 2016: Physical disturbance reported, arrest warrant for criminal mischief issued for Santiago.

— Feb. 23: Santiago arrested, found in violation of terms of his release at an address he was restricted from being at.

— March 18: Physical disturbance reported. Officers could not establish probable cause for an arrest. Tolley did not provide further details.

— Oct. 15: Domestic violence/physical disturbance reported. Officers investigated but a prosecutor did not authorize an arrest. Tolley did not provide further details.

— Oct. 21: Allegation of strangulation reported. Investigating officers established no probable cause for an arrest.

— Nov. 7: Police called to Anchorage FBI office for a “mental health crisis” involving a man having disjointed thoughts, Tolley said. Investigating agents told officers Santiago arrived asking for help, was having “terroristic thoughts” and believed he was being influenced by the Islamic State. He was admitted to a mental health facility. A gun, found in Santiago’s vehicle outside the office, along with his newborn child, was held by police for safe keeping, Tolley said.

— Nov. 17: A letter was sent to Santiago about picking up his gun.

— Nov. 30: Santiago tried to retrieve his gun, at which time the Anchorage FBI was notified and contacted Santiago at the police station. Santiago did not leave with the gun, Tolley said. He provided no details as to why, except that matters were “re-coordinated” with the FBI.

— Dec. 8: The gun was released to Santiago.

— Jan. 6: Authorities say Santiago opened fire at the Florida airport, killing five. They have not said whether the gun used was the same he retrieved a month earlier.

More coverage here:

Airport gunman charged, US seeks death penalty

Brother of airport shooting suspect says US gov't failed him

US veteran from Anchorage arrested in airport shooting; 5 dead, 8 wounded


  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback