Lack of Command Stymied Response to FLL Shooting: Report

Confusion about who was in charge and an uncontrolled self-evacuation added to the chaos during the January shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, according to a new report released Tuesday.

The 82-page report, prepared by a consulting firm and released by the Broward County Aviation Department, analyzed the response to the January 6 shooting, which left five people dead and six wounded.

The report said a unified command was “never established causing confusion as to who was in charge.” The lack of unified command led to “a lack of information regarding resource needs and disjointed, misinformed, and conflicting mission development.”

Police say 27-year-old Esteban Santiago flew from Alaska to the airport and opened fire in a crowded baggage claim area. Santiago has pleaded not guilty to a 22-count indictment in the shooting.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The new report said about 40 other people were injured in the panic when there were reports of more gunfire in the airport shortly after the shooting.

“Speculation of additional firearm discharges in other areas within FLL caused an uncontrolled self-evacuation throughout the airport,” the report said. “The self-evacuation of people into secure areas led to the complete closure of FLL, passenger delays, traffic control issues, and personal property claim issues.”