Fort Lauderdale Attack Renews Debate On Airport Security

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Federal prosecutors have filed charges in the deadly Florida airport attack. Esteban Santiago faces a charge of what’s called, “an act of violence at an international airport resulting in death.”

If convicted he could face execution. He’s also charged with two firearms offenses.

The FBI says Santiago, an Iraq War veteran, traveled from Alaska to Fort Lauderdale Friday to carry out the shooting. Five people died, and six others were wounded.

Santiago is scheduled to be in court on Monday. He’s being held without bond.

The Fort Lauderdale airport is open again, but the terminal where the shooting happened is still closed.

The violence is forcing aviation experts and the government to take another long, hard look at airport security.

Increased security at airports like Dallas Love Field was clear the day after the Fort Lauderdale attacks, but aviation security expert Denny Kelly says it’s not enough.

“The security in our airports right now is no better than it was on September the 10th 2001,” Kelly said.

Investigators in Fort Lauderdale say 26-year-old Santiago was able to easily retrieve a handgun that he legally packed in a checked bag.

Kelly says if airports adopted a policy of profiling passenger behavior and physiological responses to screening questions, they could stop attacks like this one.

“And they could have alerted the airline or alerted the authorities where he was going, Fort Lauderdale, and they would have kept close watch on him,” Kelly said.

Edward Cencora recently returned from a trip to Israel where he says one on one screening is an approach that could help in the U.S.

“Basically they just asked me why I’m going to Israel and what I’m going to be doing over there, what’s the purpose behind it,” he said.

Cencora, a gun supporter, also favors banning guns and ammunition from checked bags, but some hunters like John Weaver say that goes too far.

“It’s like if I go to a gun show and buy from there, and I fly, I’ll fly it with me,” Weaver said.

Kelly says the Fort Lauderdale attack should be a wakeup call for comprehensive security reform, but he admits it won’t be easy.

“If you do all this especially at the entrance of the airport, you’re going to have a big slow down. The airlines are not going to stand for that. The traveling public is going to be very unhappy with that,” Kelly said.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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Comments

One Comment

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