Airport closed, flights canceled, five dead, eight seriously injured by suspected New Jersey-born gunman by Patti Pietschmann
Talk about too close for comfort. It was less than two weeks that my husband Richard and I flew from Fort Lauderdale Airport to LAX--a peaceful, uneventful flight unlike today when a gunman opened fire in the Delta Airlines baggage claim area killing five people and injuring eight. Details of the New Jersey-born suspect says he flew into FLL from Canada with his gun in his checked baggage. Apparently it is legal to put arms in your luggage that isn't carried on the plane. Why? Anyhow the story goes that the suspect took his bag into the bathroom, loaded the gun and came out shooting at anybody he saw.
This turned FLL into utter chaos with people screaming and running for cover. Cops came fast and surrounded the terminal. Some flights that were on the tarmac were cleared for takeoff but many later in the day were canceled. Delta issued a press release saying that the carrier expects continued disruption of flights for the rest of today, Jan. 6. A tragedy that could have been averted by stricter gun control
Earlier today Delta CEO Ed Bastian extended his condolences to the people of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County.
As of 3:45 p.m. ET Friday, Delta has diverted six FLL-bound flights to Palm Beach International Airport, Miami International Airport, Orlando International Airport and Jacksonville International Airport and cancelled 14 flights. The airline operates 33 peak-day flights from Fort Lauderdale to 9 destinations.
The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a nationwide groundstop for traffic through Fort Lauderdale this time.
Delta is working closely with law enforcement in their investigation, and out of respect to that investigation, details about the suspect will come from law enforcement officials.
Specially trained Delta Care Team members have been activated and are traveling to Fort Lauderdale to assist families and friends of customers and employees who may have been impacted by the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale International Airport.
Delta has issued a waiver for customers traveling to or from Fort Lauderdale to change their travel plans free of penalty, and the airline is working to re-accommodate customers. Customers can check the status of their flight at delta.com.
The airport remains closed, and Delta continues to work with local authorities to evaluate when airline operations can resume.