Airport gunman pleads guilty, can get 5 life sentences: Report

Esteban Santiago pleads guilty to killing five people in 2017, gets five life sentences. (MGN)

Esteban Santiago, the man accused of killing five people in a mass shooting at an airport in Fort Lauderdale, pleaded guilty Wednesday morning.

The plea deal, reached earlier this month, means Santiago can be sentenced to life in prison. He reached the deal with federal prosecutors to avoid the death penalty.

Santiago pleaded guilty to five counts of committing acts of violence at an international airport causing death and six counts of committing acts of violence at an international airport causing serious bodily injury, according to the Department of Justice. Santiago may receive five life terms plus 120 years in prison without a right to appeal at his sentencing hearing on August 17.

The shooting happened in the baggage claim at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in January of 2017.

The FBI said Santiago, an Iraq war veteran, traveled from Alaska to Florida to carry out the shooting.

“On January 6, 2017, Esteban Santiago-Ruiz committed a mass-shooting when he pulled out a handgun and started shooting inside the terminal of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, killing five people and seriously wounding six more,” said Robert F. Lasky, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami. “Santiago is now being held accountable for this senseless and cowardly act of violence.”

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