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Former FBI agent shares thoughts on Fort Lauderdale airport shooting

Posted: 6:40 AM, Jan 09, 2017
Updated: 2017-01-09 06:40:02-05

A former FBI agent, who says the location of the tragedy and how the killer came to South Florida, is secondary to a bigger issue that may have contributed to the killings.

RELATED: More coverage of the airport shooting

"As the evidence has indicated to date, this is a young man who clearly was suffering from a mental illness," said former FBI agent Stuart Kaplan.

Kaplan believes the FBI did the appropriate thing when Esteban Santiago came to their Anchorage, Alaska, office in November saying his mind was being controlled by U.S. intelligence agents. 

Agents called local police, who then took Santiago to a psychiatric facility.  Police took a gun from Santiago at that time and returned the weapon to him in December.

Kaplan says through the Baker Act in Florida, when someone is sent to a psychiatric facility for 72 hours or longer, local law enforcement will seize that person’s firearms.

"At a later date (that individual will have) to prove their competency to get those weapons back,” said Kaplan.

Kaplan said any venue that brings people together, from an airport to a shopping center, has the potential to be a soft target.

"There are only so many layers of security that we can do,” said Kaplan.

Kaplan believes the issue isn't how the gun was transported.

"It's more of the fact that this is an individual who probably should never have been allowed to regain possession or lawful right of being in control of a weapon,” said Kaplan.

Kaplan, who works in risk assessment and executive protection, believes there needs to be a better system in the U.S. to create uniform laws with respect to purchasing and possession of firearms.