Military history of suspected Florida airport shooter revealed; witness says ‘firing just went on and on’

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A military spokeswoman says the suspect in a deadly shooting at the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, airport received a general discharge from the Alaska Army National Guard last year for unsatisfactory performance.

Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead did not release details about 26-year-old Esteban Santiago's discharge in August 2016. Olmstead said that he joined the Guard in November 2014.

Puerto Rico National Guard spokesman Maj. Paul Dahlen said that Santiago was deployed to Iraq in 2010 and spent a year there with the 130th Engineer Battalion, the 1013th engineer company out of Aguadilla.

Olmstead also said that Santiago had served in the Army Reserves prior to joining the Alaska Army National Guard.

A passenger said he heard the first gunshots as he picked up his luggage from a baggage claim carousel in a shooting that left five dead and eight wounded.

John Schilcher told Fox News the person next to him fell to the ground Friday. He says other people started falling, and he then dropped to the ground with his wife and mother-in-law. Schilcher says "the firing just went on and on."

He says the shooter emptied his weapon and reloaded during an eerily quiet lull in the gunfire. Schilcher says he didn't assume it was safe until he saw a police officer standing over him at the Fort Lauderdale international airport.

He says he remained on the ground and was told not to move as authorities investigated unconfirmed reports of a second shooting.

Shooting impacts KCI

Immediately after Friday’s deadly shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale airport, security at Kansas City International Airport was heightened and flights were canceled. Passenger after passenger at KCI couldn't stop talking about what happened

Sindy and Kevin Sanford had hoped to fly into that Florida airport with their kids and then cruise to the Bahamas. The shooting canceled their flight.

"It's scary not knowing what's going on and all those people thinking they're safe in the airport," said Sindy.

"I'm at a loss for words. It's just crazy. It's all getting too common," said Kevin.

In 2013 Valeria Jaramillo said she was just two blocks away from the deadly Boston Marathon bombings. Friday, she and her family were also scheduled to fly into the Ft. Lauderdale airport.

“We were just gonna go spend some time with family and we were thinking as a family that could’ve been us. And also you think about the people that have passed away because of the shootings," she said.

Shootings that have now prompted KCI police to put more officers on patrol inside and outside the airport and at all unsecured areas.

"We have other eyes and ears in the area keeping clips of the ticket counters, the bag claims, the checkpoints here," said Lt. Bill Simpson.

Many travelers at KCI were scrambling to re-book their flights to Ft. Lauderdale. Many of them realized they may not fly until Saturday or Sunday.