As we are all painfully aware, the 6th of January saw 2017’s first major mass shooting in the United States as 11 people were shot by former National Guardsman Esteban Santiago-Ruiz, with five of those victims dying from the gunshots sustained.
In the days that followed, information of the attack as well as of the victims and the perpetrator have come to light to fill in the gaps originally placed in the chaos of the shooting. This is what we know now.
Santiago-Ruiz had arrived in Ft. Lauderdale on a connecting flight from Alaska and, upon landing retrieved a Walther 9mm semi-automatic handgun from his checked luggage. After that he went into the airport restroom, where he loaded the gun, exited, and began his rampage.
According to the criminal complaint, Santiago-Ruiz used a calm and concise manner of shooting as he fired the weapon 10 to 15 times, aiming it at his victims’ heads.
“He was described as walking while shooting in a methodical manner,” the complaint said.
Witnesses on the scene said that Santiago-Ruiz, who was wearing a blue “Star Wars” T-shirt, said nothing as he fired the rounds before he surrendered to police after running out of ammunition.
The Broward County sheriff has said it took the first deputy on the scene about a minute and a half to contact the suspect after the first shots rang out and that when the deputy confronted him, he dropped the gun and was taken into custody.
There had been reports of a second gunman in the chaos of the shooting, but this was quickly proven to be false.
The shooter, Esteban Santiago-Ruiz is from Anchorage, Alaska, and is an Army National Guard veteran who served in Iraq. According to Santiago-Ruiz’s brother, Santiago-Ruiz had been receiving psychological treatment recently. This beginning due to an event in which Santiago-Ruiz walked into an Anchorage, Alaska FBI office in November 2016, and claimed he was being forced to fight for ISIS. He was sent to a psychiatric hospital thereafter for treatments.
His family said Santiago-Ruiz, who had been in and out of the military for nearly a decade, started having problems after he returned from a tour in Iraq in 2011.
On Dec. 14, 2007, he joined the Puerto Rico National Guard. He was deployed to Iraq from April 2010 to February 2011. Following this, Santiago-Ruiz’s mental problems began to develop, however, treatments for them had not begun. After a few years, Santiago-Ruiz returned to the military when he joined the Army Reserves, and in November 2014 joined the Alaska National Guard. He was kicked out in August 2016, according to the Alaska National Guard.
In January 2016, Santiago-Ruiz was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors for a fight with his girlfriend, according to the Alaska Dispatch News and according to a CBS news report Santiago-Ruiz was investigated by Homeland Security for child porn approximately five years ago but was never prosecuted.
Of the 11 victims that were shot in the rampage, five have died and six others were wounded. Of the wounded five have been released from the hospital, with the sixth expected to be released.
The victims that passed are as follows.
Olga Woltering, 84, an avid church goer who regularly attended Mass with her husband, Ralph, at The Catholic Church of the Transfiguration in Marietta, Ga. She worked in various ministries affiliated with the church, where she and her husband had been members since 1978. She and Ralph were on their way to a cruise to celebrate Ralph’s 90th birthday. The two had been married for 64 years.
Michael Oehme was one of the owners of Boundaryline Surveys, a land surveying business in Omaha. The company, in a recorded message, described the event as a “tragic loss” and said it had been inundated with expressions of sorrow and concern since last week’s shooting. Michael, who was 57, had traveled to Fort Lauderdale for a cruise with his wife, Kari, who herself sustained a gunshot wound to the shoulder and is expected to fully recover.
Terry Andres, 62, of Virginia Beach worked at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth and also had a history of donating his time to public service around his hometown. He was also set to embark on a cruise with his wife who was not injured.
Shirley Timmons, 70, of Senecaville, Ohio, was the longtime owner of the Mayfair Stores, now-closed women’s clothing stores in Cambridge, Ohio. She and her husband Steve, who was also shot and was seriously injured, were weeks from their 51st wedding anniversary.
There has also been one victim who has not been publicly disclosed at the family’s request at this time.
The thoughts and prayers of us at Concealed Carry Inc. are with the victims and their families.