Watch CBSN Live

Why did alleged Ft. Lauderdale airport shooter get gun back from police?

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- With a steely stare, Esteban Santiago was escorted into federal court Monday, shaking at times, with his feet shackled and hands cuffed.

Ft. Lauderdale shooting video 02:18

He did not explain his motive for allegedly killing five people in the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport on Friday, and said he only had $5 to $10 in his bank account.

Surveillance video obtained by TMZ appears to show Santiago firing randomly.

Prosecutors say Santiago shot 11 people in total, and when he ran out of ammunition he dropped his weapon and surrendered.

A law enforcement source tells CBS News Santiago used a 9mm handgun in the shooting seen in a photo on the airport floor.

It’s the same gun the Iraq War veteran had with him after he went to an FBI office in Anchorage, Alaska, in November to claim his mind was being controlled by U.S. intelligence. He said he was being forced to watch ISIS videos.

Santiago was then committed for four days to be mentally evaluated. A month later, he petitioned to get his gun back from Anchorage police.

Without a judge’s order to commit him, police say they had no choice but to return the gun.

U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler CBS News

“There is a federal law with regard to having a gun by somebody who is mentally ill, but the law requires that the person be ‘adjudicated mentally ill,’” said Karen Loeffler, the U.S. Attorney for the district of Alaska.

“This is not somebody that would’ve been prohibited based on the information that they had. I think law enforcement acted within the laws that they have,” she said.

David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor, said he felt law enforcement didn’t do enough with Santiago.

“They should have dug a little bit deeper to find out exactly what was going on inside his head when he gave them the gun and then when he asked for it back,” Weinstein said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.