United States

Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting 1 Year Later: Security Upgrades, Increased Training for Employees

Moment of silence being held on 1-year anniversary of mass shooting at airport

Saturday marks the 1-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport and will be observed with a moment of silence, as new security measures continue to be implemented in response to the attack.

There will be an airport-wide moment of silence at 12:53 p.m. Saturday over the public address system, airport officials said. Security checkpoints and US Customs screening will all be suspended briefly.

Authorities say 27-year-old Esteban Santiago had flown to the airport from Alaska when he retrieved a 9mm handgun he had taken on a flight in checked luggage, loaded it in a bathroom and came out firing randomly in a crowded terminal. The shooting killed five and wounded six.

A number of security measures were put in place after the shooting and the release of a report that detailed the chaos and confusion during the shooting. The 82-page report said confusion about who was in charge and an uncontrolled self-evacuation were evident during the shooting response.

The Broward County Aviation Department has since upgraded its Airport Emergency Operations Center and now offers security awareness training classes to all airport employees.

The department issued a security exercise in October using a scenario involving an active threat at the airport, and a full-scale, airport-wide drill was held in December to test emergency response and communications during an airport incident. Another active shooter live drill will be held in April, aviation officials said.

All airport employees with security access IDs must review an active shooter video, and an airport-wide emergency training program will be required for all employees beginning in 2018.

The airport now has access to an Integrated Public Alert Warning System that will enable the airport to conduct mass communication with members of the public. Earpieces are also being used by all field personnel to prevent public broadcasting of sensitive information, officials said.

More than 12,000 passengers were at the airport during the shooting, and many were stranded there. As a result, the airport has stocked up on emergency supplies, including bottles of water, snacks, blankets, cots and other items.

Santiago has pleaded not guilty to a 22-count indictment in the shooting, and his trial has been delayed until June.

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