Iraq War vet gets life in prison for Fort Lauderdale airport shooting

Fort Lauderdale airport gunman sentenced to life

Fort Lauderdale airport gunman sentenced to life

A USA veteran of the war in Iraq who killed five people during a shooting spree in the arrivals area of a Florida airport previous year is due to be sentenced on Friday to life in a federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom, who called the massacre "85 seconds of evil", read the names and described the lives of the five dead and six injured before imposing the sentence to Esteban Santiago.

He confessed in May to the 6 Jan 2017 shooting at the baggage claim of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport.

Judge Bloom called the rampage "85 seconds of evil" and said she found it hard to "separate the evil of the acts from the evil in the man".

Santiago, 28, fired 15 shots at passengers picking up their luggage in the baggage claim area, aiming at their heads and bodies in a January 6, 2017 attack.

"We did not get a chance to say goodbye", said Melissa Beauchamp, the daughter of victim Mary Louise Amzibel. "We did not get a chance to say we love you".

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That same year, Santiago was reported to police in Anchorage for multiple physical disturbances, including domestic violence, as NPR reported. Prosecutors also charged he aggravated his mental illness by abusing hallucinogenic drugs after returning from Iraq, where he served with a National Guard unit.

Santiago, a former Army reservist, underwent a psychiatric competency evaluation ordered by Bloom because she said she wanted to be certain Santiago had the "capacity" to understand the charges and consequences of pleading guilty.

Santiago is responsible for deadliest airport shooting in USA history.

FILE PHOTO: File Photo: Esteban Santiago, is shown in this booking photo provided by the Broward County Sheriff's Office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, January 7, 2017.

"He's the most stable that I've ever seen him", Holmes testified at Santiago's plea hearing in late May, crediting medication that he has taken for his schizophrenia since his arrest.

Federal authorities in Alaska said Santiago visited an FBI office several months before the attack and told them he was hearing voices and that his mind was being controlled by the Central Intelligence Agency.

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