(CN) - At least five people were killed and another 8 wounded in a shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in South Florida Friday afternoon.
According to a spokeswoman for the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, a suspect is in custody. Investigators said it is too early to determine a motive for the shootings.
The attack took place at Terminal 2, which serves Delta Air Lines and Air Canada.
Chip LaMarca, a Broward County commissioner, was briefed on the airport shooting by Broward Sheriff's office. He told reporters the shooter had arrived in Fort Lauderdale aboard a Canadian flight with a gun in a checked bag.
"After he claimed his bag, he went into the bathroom and loaded the gun and started shooting. We don't know why," LaMarca said.
The Canadian embassy meanwhile is disputing LaMarca's assertion that the flight was from Canada.
The gunman reportedly said nothing as he went up and down the carousels of the baggage claim, shooting through luggage to get at people that were hiding. The killer had a handgun and went through about three magazines of ammunition.
He then threw down his weapon and lay spread-eagle on the ground until he was taken into custody, one witness said.
Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida identified the gunman as Esteban Santiago and said that he was carrying a military ID, but that it was unclear whether it was his.
"We don't know a motive at this point," Nelson said. "This could well be someone who is mentally deranged, or in fact it could be someone who had a much more sinister motive that we have to worry about every day, and that is terrorism. We can't conclude that."
Ari Fleischer, former White House Press Secretary, said he was in the airport during the incident.
"I'm at the Ft. Lauderdale airport. Shots have been fired. Everyone is running," a post on Fleischer's Twitter account reads.
Hundreds of travelers and airport staff were rushed out of the area, and were seen gathered on the tarmac as news helicopters flew overhead, the Associated Press reports.
Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief told CNN that authorities "have an active crime scene investigation involving terminal 2."
The airport is a base for Spirit Airlines. It handles more than 20 million passengers a year, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
It suspended operations as law enforcement authorities rushed to the scene and emergency medical workers treated at least one bleeding victim on the tarmac.
People spilled onto the tarmac, some carrying luggage, and some ran from both Terminals 1 and 2, hiding behind cars or anything else they could find to shield themselves.
Video posted on Instagram appeared to show several people wounded in the baggage claim area of the terminal. One person appeared to be lying in a pool of blood with a head wound.
Paramedics could also be seen treating a bleeding victim outside the airport. Hundreds of people stood on the tarmac as an ambulance drove by.
Flights already in the air and headed for the airport were delayed or diverted, and those that had yet to take off for Fort Lauderdale were held on the ground.
- Developing story.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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