Lawyer: Florida airport shooting suspect mentally competent

Posted at 7:09 AM, Feb 16, 2017
and last updated 2019-03-26 06:23:52-04

MIAMI (AP) - Defense lawyers say the Alaska man accused of fatally shooting five people and wounding six at a major airport in Florida is mentally competent to stand trial.

Attorneys for 26-year-old Esteban Santiago told a federal judge Thursday that he understands court proceedings and can assist in his defense.

RELATED: More coverage of the case

Santiago is accused of flying from Anchorage, Alaska, to Florida on Jan. 6 and opening fire at a baggage claim area of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Santiago told FBI agents after the shooting that he was under some form of government mind control. Later, he said the shooting was inspired by the Islamic State extremist group.

Santiago previously was briefly treated at an Alaska hospital after telling authorities he had been hearing voices.