FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA — A mass shooting occurred in the baggage claim area of the Fort Lauderdale airport. A man drew a 9mm pistol and indiscriminately opened fire on people in the area.
He allegedly went for headshots specifically and had time to reload a magazine before encountering resistance from authorities.
Updated information from the BBC:
Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca wrote on Facebook that the gunman had arrived on a flight from Canada with a gun checked into his luggage.
“He claimed his bag and took the gun from baggage and went into the bathroom to load it. Came out shooting people in baggage claim”, Mr LaMarca wrote.
There are five people dead, eight injured, and one person in custody. The shooter was initially thought to be killed due to an eyewitness account but that has been corrected.
“He was gunned down by police,” Mark Lea from Minneapolis told the NBC. “It was absolutely surreal.”
Police have apprehended another person believed to have some connection to the crime.
“At first we thought it was firecrackers,” Mark Lea, 53, told MSNBC. “Everyone started screaming and running. The shooter made his way down through baggage claim. He had what looked like a 9 mm and emptied his entire clip [sic]. People were trying to run.”
Major media outlets have confirmed that the event took place around 1:00 p.m. EST,
the gunman is indeed dead, the BBC confirmed that the gunman had been arrested without incident by authorities.
Warning, this video contains graphic content. It was believed to have been taken by a passenger at one end of the baggage claim. There are people visibly injured so if that bothers you, we suggest you skip the video.
Another passenger in the baggage claim area described the gunman shooting people in the head. He allegedly had time to reload his pistol and continue shooting before police arrived and apprehended him.
“He walked over and he was right in our area, like within just feet of us, shooting people. I didn’t know if I would be shot or if my wife or my mother-in-law would either,” one of the passengers said.
At Concealed Nation, we never focus on the identity of the gunman because we firmly believe he should never be given a platform to make any pronouncements after doing a horrendous act of indiscriminate violence. What we do know is that there are conflicting reports suggesting another gunman may have been involved. The majority of these allegations stem from ABC 6 Action News — which have later been found to be incorrect.
— ABC Action News (@abcactionnews) January 6, 2017
Though ABC’s main news story does not include any indication of a second gunman.
NBC News confirmed that the gunman was captured without incident by police.
“Once he finished shooting, he walked down by Door 2, threw his gun on the ground, and laid down on the ground, spread-eagle, until the first officer came — which was probably a minute later,” Lea told MSNBC. “He was not shot at all, was not wounded.”
In mass shootings, we’ve seen a pattern of initially thinking there may be a second or even third gunman. In the end, it usually ends up being attributed to just one man.
The baggage claim section of the Fort Lauderdale airport is outside the security perimeter of the terminal. This generally means that anyone is free to come in as they see fit. It also leaves gun owners landing at Fort Lauderdale in a uniquely exposed position.
Senator Bill Nelson addressed the elephant in the room when he described the baggage claim of the airport as a “soft target” to ABC News. It is. It’s a place where law-abiding gun owners exiting the terminal will always be unarmed. It’s also a place where the man who perpetrated this crime sought to target people. He allegedly got his gun from baggage before opening fire on other people in the area.
For our readers, we wrote articles that go into a bit more depth about how to deal with a mass shooting as an armed gun owner. In general, though, if you’re going to be in a soft target environment, we suggest reading an article where we discuss the five simple steps to deal with an attacker.
This story will update as information becomes available.