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Alaska man gets life in prison for Florida airport shooting

20 August 2018

Calling his mass shooting "85 seconds of evil", a federal judge Friday sentenced Esteban Santiago to life in prison for killing five travelers and injuring five other people at a Fort Lauderdale airport a year ago.

In May, Santiago pleaded guilty to 11 charges as part of a plea deal in which prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty.

Esteban Santiago, seen leaving the Broward County jail for a hearing in January 2017, has been sentenced to life in prison for a shooting rampage at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Bloom called the shootings, "85 seconds of evil", and Santiago chose not to speak at the hearing, the TV station reported.

Santiago - a former member of the Puerto Rico and Alaska National Guard - served in the Iraq war from April 2010 to February 2011.

"We did not get a chance to say goodbye", said Julie Beauchamp, the daughter of Mary Louise Amzibel, 69, of DE, who was killed in the shooting.

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"You don't get a chance to say one last 'I love you, mom, '" Beauchamp said. Santiago, 28, a US citizen who was born in New Jersey and raised in Puerto Rico, was convicted of 11 charges in the 22-count indictment, with the remainder of the offenses being dismissed.

Eric Cohen, a federal public defender representing Santiago, said his client was diagnosed with schizophrenia, experiencing psychotic symptoms and thought voices were sending him messages.

Esteban Santiago, shown in a handout photo from the Broward Sheriff's Office, was sentenced to five consecutive life terms and six consecutive 20-year prison terms for the shooting that took place at the Fort Lauderdale airport in January 2017. Relatives also said Santiago returned from military service with mental and emotional problems.

At a previous hearing, when Bloom asked Santiago why he carried out the attack, he replied: "I don't know".

Santiago was briefly hospitalized for psychiatric care in November 2016 - two months before the airport shooting - after he had gone to the Federal Bureau of Investigation office in Anchorage and told agents that he was hearing voices urging him to support the Islamic State terrorist group and that the Central Intelligence Agency was pressuring him to watch training videos.

Alaska man gets life in prison for Florida airport shooting