Accused Florida airport shooter Esteban Santiago had his weapons confiscated twice by the authorities before the Jan. 6 massacre, including a reported confiscating four years ago in Puerto Rico – but in both cases, investigations were closed and Santiago, the guns were returned to him.
Santiago, 26, had a gun or guns taken by Penuelas police in Puerto Rico more than four years ago, The Florida Sun-Sentinel reported on Friday, although the reason for the action was not immediately clear.
“It was kind of complaint,” police officer Edward Ramirez said.
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The investigation lasted about two years, and Santiago, the firearms were eventually returned to him in May 2014. But not much else is known about that probe since Santiago file was removed from the Firearms Licensing Office in Puerto Rico, The Sun-Sentinel reported, presumably by the officials of the investigation into the airport attack.
Shortly after his guns were returned, Santiago moved to Anchorage, where in November 2016, he had walked into an FBI office and reportedly told the authorities that ISIS was influencing him, and the government was an attempt to control his mind.
Federal agents again seized Santiago’s weapon and he was given a psychological evaluation – but the doctors don’t think that he needed to be committed, Santiago was released and his gun was returned on Dec. 8. Less than a month later, he allegedly walked into the Fort Lauderdale airport and killed 5 and wounded 6.
It is unclear whether the weapons were the same in the two cases, or if one of these weapons were of the same Walther 9 mm. semi-automatic pistol Santiago allegedly used during the baggage claim slaughter.
Nor is it clear why Santiago went to Florida.
He had some family there, but they said they had not seen him in years. He had also booked and cancelled another flight, an Alaska-to-Puerto Rico trip is a stopover in New York on new year’s day, according to a law enforcement official.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.