Sunday, January 8, 2017

Florida airport shooter charged with murder, motive unclear, could face life sentence or death penalty

The shooter who killed five at the Fort Lauderdale airport in the US state of Florida was officially charged with federal murder on Saturday.

The suspect, identified as Esteban Santiago, a 26-year-old Iraq war veteran, could face life sentence or death penalty if convicted, though his motive remains unclear.

"Today's charges represent the gravity of the situation and reflect the commitment of federal, state and local law enforcement personnel to continually protect the community and prosecute those who target our residents and visitors," US Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said.

The suspect was scheduled to make his first court appearance on Monday.

Santiago told investigators of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that he bought a one-way ticket to the busy airport for the attack, local media reported.

Santiago went there "specifically to carry out this horrific attack," Miami FBI Special Agent George Piro told reporters earlier Saturday.

Authorities don't know why he chose his target and do not rule out terrorism.

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