The Florida airport shooting suspect has been charged and could face the death penalty

Esteban santiago
This booking photo provided by the Broward Sheriff’s Office shows suspect Esteban Ruiz Santiago, 26, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Relatives of the man who police say opened fire Friday killing several people and wounding others at a Florida airport report he had a history of mental health issues. Broward Sheriff’s Office via AP

The suspected Florida airport gunman was charged by federal prosecutors on Saturday in connection to the mass shooting that killed five and wounded six the previous day.

Esteban Santiago, 26, could face the death penalty or life imprisonment if he is convicted of the charges, which include performing an act of violence at an international airport resulting in bodily harm, as well as firearms violations.

Santiago is set to appear in court Monday in Fort Lauderdale.

Federal authorities alleged earlier on Saturday that Santiago appears to have travelled to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport specifically to carry out the attack, according to the Associated Press.

Prosecutors said Santiago allegedly pulled out a handgun in the Terminal 2 baggage claim area, and began shooting at the newly arrived passengers, aiming at their heads, until he used up his ammunition.

The suspect then dropped the gun on the ground after being confronted by a Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy, and was arrested, prosecutors said.

Investigators said it’s unclear why the Florida airport was chosen as the target, and they have not ruled out terrorism as a potential motive.

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