On January 6, 2017, a senseless tragedy stole the lives of five people who were traveling through Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Esteban Santiago used a gun from his checked luggage in the baggage claim area to fire several rounds of ammunition. Unsuspecting travelers scrambled to take cover behind luggage carts and carousels, laying face-down on the ground with nowhere to run from the rampant gunfire.
After authorities swooped in and arrested him, all in all eight people were injured and five people died. Four of the five victims have been identified and it was revealed that all were at the airport with their spouses that day to embark on vacation cruises with family.
Here are four of the five victims and their heartbreaking stories.
In Florida to celebrate husband Ralph’s 90th birthday with a cruise, it was discovered that the Georgia couple changed their travel plans to arrive earlier in Florida that day to avoid an ice storm. Active in her church, Olga, 84, was fondly remembered by her parish priest, Father Fernando Molina-Restrepo, as told to People magazine: “She was one of the most joyful, loving, caring and committed people I have ever met.”
Michael Oehme and his wife Kari were traveling from Iowa to Florida to enjoy a Caribbean cruise when the shots rang out. Kari was also shot in the shoulder and neck and is expected to make a full recovery. The heartbroken widow has lost her best friend in this unthinkable tragedy. Kari’s friend Adam Angeroth told People magazine of the couple: “They were like peanut butter and jelly.” He added: “She is one of the happiest people I know. He was pretty quiet, pretty upbeat.”
Happily married for 40 years, Virginia couple Terry and Ann Andres were at the airport that tragic day to celebrate his 63rd birthday by going on a cruise. Terry was fatally shot in the airport. The loving father and grandfather from Virginia always made it know that Ann was his “soulmate.” Daughter Ryan Kim told the Palm Beach Post: “I know that everyone always says that people are the greatest in the world, but he was the greatest person you could know. He never had a horrible word to say about anyone or anything.”
Ohio couple Shirley and husband Steve were in town to celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary on a cruise with family when the horrifying shooting claimed her life. Steve was also shot in the face and has been in a coma ever since. Shirley’s grandson Steve Reineccius told CNN: “She was the most loving, passionate mother who had a love for life and truly sparkled. She will continue to sparkle through her husband, mother, three daughters, and eight grandchildren.”
The Tragic Scene Of The Shooting At Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport