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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 26, 2017

Esteban Santiago Ruiz Indicted on Federal Charges in Connection with Shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

A federal grand jury sitting in Broward County returned a twenty-two count indictment against Esteban Santiago Ruiz (Santiago) in connection with the mass-shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on January 6, 2017. Santiago’s arraignment on the charges has been scheduled for Monday, January 30, 2017 at 10:00 a.m., before United States Magistrate Judge Barry L. Seltzer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Scott Israel, Sheriff, Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO) made the announcement.

Santiago is charged in a federal indictment with eleven counts of performing an act of violence against a person at an airport serving international civil aviation that caused death or serious bodily injury, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 37(a)(1); six counts of use and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A); and five counts of causing the death of a person through the use of a firearm in the course of a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(j). The statutory charges authorize a maximum penalty, upon conviction, of death or imprisonment for life or any term of years.

According to the criminal complaint previously filed in court, shortly before 1 p.m. on January 6, 2017, Santiago carried out an armed attack on newly-arrived passengers retrieving their luggage in the Terminal 2 baggage claim area of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Santiago pulled out a handgun and started shooting at numerous victims, aiming at the victims’ heads and bodies until he was out of ammunition. Santiago killed five people and wounded six more. Moments later, Santiago was confronted by a BSO deputy. He dropped his handgun on the ground and was arrested by BSO deputies.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistants United States Attorney Ricardo A. Del Toro and Lawrence LaVecchio, with assistance from Department of Justice Trial Attorney Larry Schneider.

An indictment is a formal charging document notifying the defendant of the criminal charges. All persons charged in an indictment are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Court documents and information related to this case may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Attachment(s): 
Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Updated January 26, 2017