Fort Lauderdale shooting suspect faces possible death penalty

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CNN — Fort Lauderdale airport shooting suspect Esteban Santiago made his first court appearance Monday, during which Judge Alicia O. Valle advised him he would face three charges: performing an act of violence against a person at an airport serving international civil aviation that caused serious bodily injury; using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; and causing the death of a person through the use of a firearm. Two of the charges carry a maximum sentence of death. Valle appointed Santiago a lawyer and set his next court date for January 17.

Esteban Santiago has already confessed to shooting up a Fort Lauderdale airport, authorities said, killing five people in the country’s latest mass shooting.

Santiago, a security guard living in Alaska, had served in the US Army Reserve and the Alaska Army National Guard. He completed a 10-month tour of Iraq from 2010 to 2011.

After his time in Iraq, his aunt and brother said, he came back a changed man — hearing voices or having “visions all the time.”

Santiago recently began selling his possessions, including his car. Friends and associates noticed more erratic behavior, investigators have learned from interviews with those who know him.

Two months ago, Santiago voluntarily went into the Anchorage FBI office and said his mind was being controlled by US intelligence. He was “having terroristic thoughts and believed he was influenced by ISIS,” Anchorage police said.

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