Metro security expert calls airport baggage claim a ‘soft target’

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Police dogs scoured checked baggage arriving at Kansas City International Airport for any signs of weapons or ammunition Friday afternoon. Earlier in the day at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, police say Esteban Santiago retrieved a gun and ammunition from his bag he checked at the gate, loaded it and returned to the baggage claim area, opening fire on more than a dozen passengers.

One college student home on break was at KCI waiting to board a plane to Ft. Lauderdale when the shooting happened.

“Horrible things have gone on around the world lately, but nothing this close to where I should be. I have 12 fraternity brothers that flew in today that already went through the airport, I had one in the terminal when it happened,” he said.

The shooting prompted immediate visible changes to security at airports around the country including KCI.

“We said, 'hey, this is going on in Florida you guys need to make sure it doesn't happen here,' we made sure to be on our toes,” Kansas City International Airport Police Lt. Bill Simpson said.

But retired FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Tabman says Americans have accepted certain dangers and he doesn’t foresee efforts to secure more areas of the airport as a result.

“We’re always going to have soft targets there’s always going to be a choke point where people come from non-secure area to secure area waiting to get in, and that’s going to be the vulnerability where someone could just take out a weapon and start shooting,” Tabman said.

In this case, the gun seems to have been transported by approved security measures for checked baggage.

“I don’t think we are going to make any changes to the carrying of weapons. We have hunters and people who carry weapons for legitimate purposes, I don’t see us stopping them from doing that. We are going to look at it, we are going to say is this a loophole, but unfortunately this is a weakness we are going to have to confront.”

Both Tabman and airport police stressed the importance of saying something if you see something. It appears the shooter loaded that gun in a bathroom, something airport officials in Kansas City say they would definitely want to know about.