Accused Florida airport shooter Esteban Santiago told the researchers that he met with ISIS terrorists in “jihadi chat rooms” and carried out the deadly Jan. 6 attack on behalf of ISIS, authorities said Tuesday during a bond hearing.
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Santiago, 26, practiced firing his semi-automatic pistol at a distance in Alaska during the months before he allegedly five people were killed and six others injured at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, FBI agents testified, according to The Orlando Sentinel.
“At different points…he said that he carried out the attack because of the government control of the spirit,” the public prosecutor Ricardo Del Toro said. “But he later said he did that, because [ISIS]…after participating in jihadi chat-roms.”
Santiago had initially told officials he was a victim of mind control, after he was arrested without incident after the shooting. He had also said that the government has the control over his mind in November, when he walked into an Alaska FBI office and said that he was made to watch terrorist propaganda. After that episode, Santiago was briefly hospitalized for mental health problems, but the doctors said he was stable and released him.
He was on no psychiatric drugs, agents said, only taking anti-anxiety medication and a herbal supplement to help with sleep.
Santiago is not formally charged but is due back in court Jan. 30.