Florida delegates were eating cake at party at the airport shooting happened, lawsuit claims

Law enforcement officials escort Esteban Santiago, the suspect in a deadly 2017 shoot in Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida.

(Associated Press)

Broward County sheriff’s deputies were eating cake at a colleague’s retirement party last year, when a gunman opened fire at a Florida airport, killing five people, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.

The submission on behalf of Ann Andres, whose husband was killed in the shooting, claims representatives must be placed in the airport’s baggage claim area, but instead, “the members of the BSO had a retirement party in a meeting room,” according to the Sun Sentinel.

The delegates were at a party at Fort Lauderdale airport shooting began, says widow lawsuit

— South Florida Sun-Sentinel (@SunSentinel) July 12, 2018

“Ann always live with the violent images of Terry’s traumatic death and says” it will never leave [her] thoughts and nightmares,'” the lawsuit reads, according to the paper.

Esteban Santiago, now 28, opened fire Jan. 6, 2017, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, killing five people and injuring six others before surrendering to the authorities.

The military veteran later confessed to the murder and pled guilty. His sentencing is set for Aug. 17, according to the paper.

Negligence complaints were also filed in the lawsuit against the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Broward County Commission, which oversees the international airport operations for Delta Airlines, as well as three security companies, the paper reported.

According to the lawsuit, Andres was led away from the crime scene to a room where she “observed cake and balloons inside the office, indicating that there was a party in the office earlier that day,” the lawsuit said, the paper reported.

Andres is seeking a jury trial and seven figures in damages, her lawyer, David DiPietro, told the newspaper.

A second lawsuit filed on behalf of a shooting victim also claimed the delegates were a party and failed to adequately respond to the incident, WPLG reported.

DiPietro confirmed by its own researchers, there was a party going on at the moment of the attack, the station reported.

The station reported that witnesses have said that no officers were in the vicinity at the time of the recording, and that an officer is on a different floor was the first to respond.

The Sheriff’s Office did not respond directly to the station’s request for comment regarding the alleged party that took place.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office is the same office that received criticism for a perceived weak response to the Feb. 14 school massacre in the Park, Fla.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Benjamin Brown is a reporter from Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bdbrown473.

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