Frightened travelers told operators they were hiding in closets and behind ticket counters after hearing gunshots during the mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, according to new 911 calls released Thursday by the Broward Sheriff's Office.
The 14 calls are the second batch of recordings released from the Jan. 6 shooting inside the baggage claim area of Terminal 2, which killed five people and left six others wounded.
"I am in the Fort Lauderdale airport and somebody hollered 'gun' and I don't know what's going on," one woman, who said she was hiding in a janitor closet, told an operator.
"People are freaking out here, sir, people are running," another woman says as her voice breaks. "Sir, I can’t tell where’s a safe place to be right now."
The man charged in the shooting, 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, pleaded not guilty Monday to 22 counts including causing death or bodily harm at an international airport, causing death during a crime of violence and using a firearm during a crime of violence.
Authorities say Santiago flew from Anchorage, Alaska, with a handgun in his checked luggage which he loaded in a bathroom before going on the shooting spree.
"We saw them all running and we heard it, we heard the shots," another woman, who was locked in a back room in Terminal 4, tells an operator in one of the calls.
In another call, an airport worker on a Delta plane said he was hiding with some passengers.
"We are inside of a plane, a Delta plane, some guy is shooting," he says. "As we were deplaning apparently this guy came back with the guns and we managed to get some people inside back of the plane because it's safer here, however there’s still a lot of people in the gate area."