Four Cruise Passengers Killed in Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting

By ,   January 12, 2017 ,   Accidents

Four cruise ship passengers were among the 5 people killed in the tragic shooting at a baggage claim area within Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport’s Terminal 2 last Friday. At least six others were wounded. Several dozen airport passengers were also injured as people fled the scene.

  • Killed was Terry Andres (62, Virginia Beach VA) had flown to Florida with his wife Anne (travel agent).
  • Fatally wounded was Shirley Timmons (70, Senecaville OH). She and her husband Steve Timmons (also critically wounded) were celebrating their 51st wedding anniversary later in the month. The couple reportedly flew to Fort Lauderdale to join their family on a cruise.
  • Michael Oehme (business owner, Council Bluffs IA) was shot and killed. He was supposed to board a cruise ship together with his wife Kari (also injured in the attack).
  • Another fatality (great grandmother Olga Wattering, Marietta GA) also was set to board a cruise ship together with her husband.
  • Another person was also killed, others are still hospitalized with serious injuries. Many others were injured not at the baggage claim, but elsewhere in the terminal or in an adjacent terminal.

The shooter was identified as Esteban Santiago (26, Anchorage AK). He surrendered to police after the incident. He is set for a federal court today in Fort Lauderdale on violence and firearms charges.

According to the FBI, Santiago arrived at the airport on a one-way ticket from Alaska. He had checked the firearm in his checked bag. However, upon arrival, he went to an airport restroom, loaded the gun and then fired directly at passengers waiting in the baggage claim area.

Given the close proximity to the airport, Port Everglades cruise port had closed briefly to incoming vehicles on Friday, but had reopened just after 5 pm that day.

On Friday, two ships - Holland America's Nieuw Amsterdam and the Caribbean Princess of Princess Cruises – delayed their departures for several hours to allow boarding for passengers arriving late due to the accident.

Given the cancellation or delays for inbound flights, on Saturday, many cruise companies opted to delay additional ship departures for a few hours on Saturday. 

Most cruise vessels left Port Everglades later than scheduled Saturday, to accommodate late arriving passengers. Among those were Carnival Conquest, Coral Princess, EurodamHarmony of the SeasFreedom of the Seas.

Associated Press said Costa Cruises arranged flights to Nassau Bahamas on Saturday, for two of its passengers unable to board Costa Deliziosa prior to the ship's Friday night departure. Similarly, Carnival Cruise Line arranged for 20 booked passengers delayed at the airport Friday to fly to Nassau to board their cruise there.

While Hollywood International Airport reopened early Sunday, it was dealing with some 20,000 pieces of luggage as well as purses, personal items and cell phones that had been abandoned at the premises.