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Florida Deputy Suspended Amid Probe of Airport Shooting Video Leak

by Phil Helsel /
Image: Investigators continue their work in Terminal 2 at Fort Lauderdale International Airport on Jan. 7, the day after a shooting in the baggage area.
Investigators continue their work in Terminal 2 at Fort Lauderdale International Airport on Jan. 7, the day after a shooting in the baggage area.Mike Stocker / Zuma Press

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A Florida sheriff's deputy has been suspended with pay as investigators probe who leaked video of Friday’s Fort Lauderdale airport shooting to the celebrity gossip website TMZ, the Broward County sheriff said Tuesday.

The chilling security video shows accused gunman Esteban Santiago pull a gun from his waistband and open fire near a baggage claim at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

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Five people were killed in the shooting, in which the gunman chose his targets at random, authorities said.

Related: Should the FBI Have Done More After Airport Suspect Sought Help?

"Our investigation is moving forward. We are making progress and aggressively pursuing this case," Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said. "Today, I suspended a deputy with pay in connection with this active investigation."

Santiago, 26, was charged with three federal counts on Saturday and faces the possibility of the death sentence if convicted.

Related: Defense Secretary Says 'We Have to Do More' on PTSD in Wake of Airport Shooting

Santiago in November complained to the FBI in Anchorage, Alaska that his mind was being controlled by a U.S. intelligence agency. He was taken to a mental health facility for treatment but was later released. His gun, which had been taken for safe keeping, was returned in early December.

Santiago, a former National Guardsman who was deployed to Iraq, told the FBI after his arrest that he planned the attack, and that he checked a bag with the 9 mm handgun on a flight from Anchorage, retrieved it after landing, loaded it in a bathroom and then exited and shot the first people he encountered.

Six people were wounded in the shooting rampage. Four patients remained in the hospital Tuesday, three of whom were gunshot victims, Broward Health Medical Center said. Two were in critical condition, and two were in good condition, the hospital said.

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