New Jersey-born Esteban Santiago identified as gunman in Fort Lauderdale Airport shootingHis aunt in New Jersey was interviewed by local media in Spanish.
New York Daily News
Friday, January 6, 2017, 5:19 PM
New Jersey-born Iraq veteran Esteban Santiago has been identified as the gunman who killed five people and wounded eight others at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Santiago "lost his mind" after his overseas service, according to his aunt Maria Ruiz told NJ.com.
She said that the shooter was raised in Puerto Rico, and returned to the island when he returned from the Middle East and was hospitalized for mental problems.
Ruiz told the newspaper that he had recently been working a security job in Alaska, became a father last year and "seemed fine" when he spent time in Union City over the holidays.
Santiago was honorably discharged from the Army National Guard four months ago, the Army confirmed to ABC.[More]
Santiago-Ruiz, 26, was born in New Jersey to parents who were originally from Puerto Rico, his aunt and uncle in Union City said. He lived in New Jersey until age 2 or 3, when his family moved back to Puerto Rico.
Santiago-Ruiz grew up in the southern coastal town of Penuelas in Puerto Rico, said his brother, Bryan Santiago. He joined Puerto Rico's National Guard.
He was deployed to Iraq in 2010 and spent a year there with the 130th Engineer Battalion, the 1013th engineer company out of Aguadilla, according to Puerto Rico National Guard spokesman Maj. Paul Dahlen.
After his tour, he was hospitalized for mental problems, then went back to Puerto Rico, where his father was ill and eventually died, said Ruiz Rivera, his aunt.
While in Puerto Rico, Santiago-Ruiz was in therapy for his mental problems, his uncle said.
The Iraq War veteran eventually made his way to Alaska, where he fathered a baby born in September.
By Kelly Heyboer and Fausto Giovanny Pinto | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com By Kelly Heyboer and Fausto Giovanny Pinto | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
January 06, 2017 at 5:02 PM, updated January 06, 2017 at 6:03 PM