Information continues to develop in the Ft. Lauderdale airport shooting incident from earlier today. The latest reports indicate that the suspected perpetrator was a member of the Puerto Rico National Guard where he served for 10 months in Iraq, earning the Combat Action Badge award. Afterward he moved to Alaska where he was in the Army Reserves before joining the Alaska National Guard in 2014. A spokesperson says that the suspect was discharged from the National Guard this past August for unsatisfactory performance.

According to CNN the suspect walked into an FBI field office in Anchorage, Alaska several months ago claiming that he heard voices in his head, some telling him to join ISIS. He was voluntarily committed to a mental health facility (only those involuntarily committed are on the prohibited person list for FBI NICS gun sale background checks) for a mental health check, the results of which are unknown.

Today’s event started when the suspect boarded a flight from Anchorage, Alaska to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with a layover in Minneapolis. He declared his checked firearm to the agent, following company policy which allows checked firearms to travel on commercial flights provided that they are locked and unloaded. Upon reaching his destination the suspect removed the firearm (a handgun) from its case while in the restroom, loaded the firearm, and began firing into the crowd. Reports indicate that the suspect reloaded repeatedly.

The death toll from today’s incident remains at five people dead with eight more in the hospital. More details as they emerge.

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57 Responses to UPDATE: Suspected Ft. Lauderdale Shooter (Not Shown) was Iraq War Vet, Said He Heard Voices

  1. You’re telling me that nobody this guy interacted with during his National Guard career noticed he was batshit insane? Really? Paranoid schizophrenia is not something that’s THAT easy to hide.

      • Yeah… Because I would definitely want the guy laying down the claymores next to me to be hearing voices of little leprechaun hajis in his head telling him to aloha snackbar shit…

        FLAME DELETED

        • No… Deliberately pissing off people you think are heavily armed sociopathic killers is insanity. You take your meds today broseph?

        • Yes, trying to talk sense into a soldier is about as useful as kicking a rabid dog in the face. Got it. 🙂

        • Yeah… Because what are the chances that the faggot on the receiving end of that rant deserved it?

          Given your stupidity… I’d say pretty damn good. But hey… Marines very rarely cave in the faces of disrespectful scum. Mostly we just mock them and fuck their wives.

        • Gotta love how militarists actually defend the mindless idiocy of man-children.

          I do like the wives joke even though a large part of dark military humor revolves around being cuckolded. But humor often reflects truth, especially in this case. 🙂

      • You should all know MDS is probably prior military. My guess is he had his ass greased and rammed by his platoon SGT a few hundred times though.

    • “You’re telling me that nobody this guy interacted with during his National Guard career noticed he was batshit insane?”

      This is a disorder that can manifest itself over time or can “start” suddenly. It’s possible he developed the problem after separation or that he developed the disorder more slowly and tried to hide it so while no one noticed he was batshit crazy it eventually got him discharged because he couldn’t keep his shit together anymore but at that time wasn’t to the point of talking to people who weren’t there.

      It’s also possible that he woke up one morning while still in and was hearing shit, covered it up to the best of his ability and slowly lost his grip on reality.

    • Might be why he was discharged. “Hearing voices” is a classic symptom.

      IIRC, schizophrenia is something that can develop in the mid-20s. The guy might have been a-little-odd-but-functional up until pretty recently.

      • Pretty sure if he was discharged for “hearing voices” he would not be walking around with a carry permit. (or at all, outside of a padded room) I’d say it’s another weekend warrior who couldn’t make it in the regular Army, threw a temper tantrum, and now is using every excuse in the book to avoid responsibility for being a waste of perfectly good oxygen.

  2. It is said Santiago was given a General Discharge from the ANG. This should put him on the prohibited list, no? However, he has likely owned his pistol since before his discharge. The 4473 asks about “other than honorable discharge,” doesn’t it?

    I doubt there is no person in Alaska that simultaneously knew he was mentally unstable and possessed of a gun.

    • “Under dishonorable conditions” actually. By the wording even a BCD wouldn’t throw you on the prohibited list. Reason being, a dishonorable discharge is the equivalent of a federal felony conviction.

    • It is only a discharge under dishonorable conditions that would result in ban on firearms ownership. That would be either a dishonorable discharge or in the case of an officer a dismissal from the service.

      • A dishonorable discharge requires a conviction by a general court martial. That conviction goes on the person’s record as a felony, making them a prohibited person.

        • From what I recall of my days as an Admin Separation Clerk, and later as a unit admin, a military court martial action can be waived and a dishonorable discharge accepted by the defendant if the military court agrees to it. The resulting separation is characterized as dishonorable (but no jail time). So a court martial isn’t the only way to receive a dishonorable discharge.

          As far as this individual is concerned, an ARNG separation for “unsatisfactory performance” is frequently due to excessive absenteeism from drill (in the vernacular AWOL). Such a discharge is usually characterized as “General” (can also be “Honorable” if the separating Commander recommends it but they rarely do) which is not a disqualifying separation. It’s entirely possible no one from his unit knew what was going on with this guy because, for that last three or four months, they didn’t have any contact with him.

          The Army National Guard (and the Army Reserve) has seen an increasing number of deployments since 2001 due to decreased active component manning, reduced AC funding and increased operational requirements. It has had to become more proactive in recognizing and helping soldiers deal with mental illness resulting from deployment to combat theaters. If anyone from his unit had any concerns about the stability of this individual there were resources available and a support structure in place to assist leadership. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with many members of the AKARNG. They are a good bunch of soldiers and I have no doubt they’re well prepared to take care of their own if given the opportunity. In this case it probably wasn’t there.

          However, from PR to AK? The guy MUST have been batsh!t crazy.

        • Do be fair to the National Guard… the symptoms he’s describing would have jack shit to do with his deployment unless he caught a chunk of IED to the head.

    • Thanks. I obviously don’t read the questions with the requisite care….as soon as I see the “have you ever been” bit, I know the answer from the last ten forms. I ETS’d from the Army on 4/3/73. The distinctions have faded from memory. I enthusiastically began reading The Uniform Code of Military Justice one summer during law school, but remember becoming uncomfortable with the thing, for I didn’t intend to practice with it, and it reminded me of those few months stateside after my RVN time, during which I acquired an intense feeling of claustrophobia, trapped like an indentured servant, in the military. I remember feeling demoted from twice-volunteering warrior to, well, cleaning staff. I took it hard. It makes me laugh from this distant vantage. I could enthusiastically do the war part. I absolutely stunk at the peacetime bit. Still, I needed the GI Bill, and so it all worked out.

      I’ll have to look where, in PA law, I seen the phrase “less than honorable discharge” show up.

      • There are 5 types of discharges, from good to bad:

        1. Honorable
        2. General – for whiskey deltas and some medical discharges and a few other things.
        3. Under other than honorable conditions.
        4. Bad Conduct
        5. Dishonorable

        The last 2 require a court martial conviction, and any conviction bad enough to get you booted is a felony.

    • We have neither.
      Violence by the mentally ill is very low in the US. The closest thing we have to a crisis, as far as violence is concerned, is a gang crisis. And that’s only in a few big cities.
      America is a safe and peaceful place to live for well over 300M of us.

      • We have both. For the urban neighborhoods and drug-infested small towns of New Hampshire, Vermont, Kentucky, and others, we have an addiction crisis, which is indeed a mental health crisis: We’re still using jails intended for the violent predator to warehouse people who need detox, medication, and monitoring. But certainly the gangs are the murder problem. They are the users of guns to eliminate rivals and enforce debts. We’ve allowed the addicts to become long-term slaves of outlaw dealers, so that the two problems are now one compounded mess. Can’t we go after the gangs hard, and create better mental health and medication services with mandatory testing and, where needed, medication? I hope we get there. Will the ACLU let us?

  3. This sort of thing is EXACTLY the reason why ALL law-abiding Americans should be allowed to carry concealed EXERYWHERE they have any business being, with the caveat that if they carry on board an airplane they have to use minimal penetration rounds like Glasers (to reduce the risk of decompression). You never know when a loose nut is going to come completely unscrewed, and there isn’t always an armed cop around when you need one.

    Of course, the antis will use this as an example of why veterans should all be disarmed, or why everyone who wants to keep their guns has to take a psychological test, but hey, liberalism is a mental illness unto itself!

    • poking holes in a plane with handgun rounds doesn’t effect the plane, there is no such thing as explosive decompression at altitude. Now, poking holes in the pilot, different story. I’m all for concealed carry nearly everywhere, but an airplane is not one of them, there are way to many potential problems. Not a bunch of options for any IWB sitting strapped to a bench with other people. Shoulder or ankle maybe, but the problem is that people get more worked up on a plane with “travel issues”, plus a bunch of locked up drunks.

      • “…there is no such thing as explosive decompression at altitude”.

        True, but he didn’t say explosive decompression he said decompression.

        Breathing at 30,000 feet without supplied air is pretty hard and poking holes in the plane will decompress the airplane forcing it to reduce altitude rapidly. Those oxygen masks won’t run forever and hypoxia will incapacitate quickly or even kill most people at the altitude most commercial flights travel.

        • Air transport planes already have a large-ish hole in them as part of the pressurization / ventilation system. A bullet hole is quite a bit smaller, and even if there are several of them the automatic systems would reduce the flow through the engineered system to maintain cabin pressure. As mentioned, the problem is bullet holes in people, especially the pilot and copilot.

        • Punching holes that aren’t supposed to be there in a pressurized space full of people, a space specifically designed to keep them alive is not something you rate as “good” or “optimal”. It’s also expensive to fix.

          In the realm of problems it’s not the biggest but it certainly is one.

        • There is a valve about a foot square that regulates the pressure in a plane. If you blow out a window even it closes up and keeps pressure even. The masks would come down but it’s not going to pop the plane.
          Mythbusters did this already.

  4. heard voices? That reminds me of how shillary heard the voice of Eleanor Roosevelt. (birds of an insane feather)

  5. it sounds like another case of a voluntary comittment not getting the help he needed. Maybe if the doctors looked into the matter, he would have gotten real help, rather than e 3 day time out.

  6. He was a shitbird soldier who used PTSD as an excuse for a defense.

    He had CAB which is given to anyone who served on deployment with a unit that saw combat. It DOESN’T mean he WAS in combat. Being a shitbird, I doubt his superiors let him out on patrol because he could endanger others with his carelessness.

      • Doesn’t the CAB get awarded mainly for being in an area where certain types of combat related pay are authorized?

        • No but that’s a start. For non-infantry units, you can get the CAB if you have participated in active ground combat in a designated combat zone. Participation can be that you drove a truck in a convoy that got hit by an IED, or it can be some serious BSM-V winning actions. Huge variance, just like the CIB for infantry. You can get your CIB without ever firing a shot. Depends a lot on the command.
          You’ll get that special duty pay in those designated areas. However, it is actually possible to get the same “combat pay” and not actually be in a designated combat zone. Some of the folks performing FID missions in Central America or Counter Narcotics in those areas are examples.

    • In order to get a CIB, you must be a colonel or below in rank, have an infantry specialty, and have served in one of several defined actions.
      If you’re not in the infantry, or are a general, you get the CAB instead.
      I would suggest not messing with anyone who has either. 🙂

  7. Please forgive me if I forestall opining on this tragedy. I’m an old fart in my seventh decade and given the choice, I’d much rather go to a fine restaurant, put in my order for a rare filet mignon while sipping on a wee dram of fine single malt scotch, and then after dining upon it with a bottle of velvety margaux, opine on the meal rather than going to a fast food restaurant to get a burger, fries, and a Coke and then flapping my gums about it There’s a lot more we DON’T know about this shooting and the shooter than we DO know. Until we know all there is we WILL know, any opinions are just that – and we all know what opinions are like. The only thing I can state with certainty at this point is that the fault lies with the shooter – and not the firearm.

  8. If he wanted out of the military so badly he should have just worn a dress and heels around the base. What, that doesn’t work anymore since Obama’s been president?

  9. So on a side note, good to see the trigger finger position on the two officers in the photo. Nicely done. One of my trainers had me keep the trigger finger high enough that it wasn’t just on the slide, it practically touched the ejection port.

  10. Remember:

    “The CIA is controlling my mind and making me fight for ISIS” = not a prohibited person.

    “I’m too old and sick to navigate a federal bureaucracy on my own” = is a prohibited person.

  11. Another failure of the various “watch lists.”

    I have an idea. How about we put people who might be dangerous on these watch lists, and, you know, watch them?

    Crazy, I know.

  12. We do know that he voluntarily informed the FBI that he hears voices and they are forcing him to watch ISIS videos. And that he was subsequently hospitalized in a mental facility for a short time. Now maybe he is a shrewd ISIS wannabe who wanted to use a psych excuse after the fact. But it would be odd to volunteer this type of info to the FBI BEFORE an attack.

    So my concern is that this massacre kinda fits in with all of the other suicide/spree killings. True, he could have killed himself and didn’t. But neither did James Holmes, the Aurora CO Batman killer. And Holmes also had received some treatment from mental health pros.

    The media NEVER tells us what psych meds these shooters (even dead ones) are on, but I think it is true that it is very common to put depression patients on SSRI drugs. SSRI = Selective Seratonin Re-uptake Inhibitors. Holmes was diagnosed with depression, and although Santiago-Ruiz sounds more like a paranoid schizo, it may be true that PTSD/depression is a semi-automatic diagnosis for combat veterans (assuming he did actually see combat).

    It is a fact that SSRI drugs, or going off of SSRI drugs can have a suicide side effect. There is a theory out there, that this side effect may be causing or facilitating these suicide/spree killings. You can’t really analyze this if there is little or no data. But I think that 2nd Amendment supporters should get to the bottom of this. It may be that the problem is not too little mental health treatment, but the wrong type of mental health treatment.

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