Fort Lauderdale, Florida (CNN) Esteban Santiago, the man charged with killing five people at the Fort Lauderdale airport, told FBI agents he carried out the attack on behalf of ISIS, FBI special agent Michael Ferlazzo testified at Santiago’s bond hearing Tuesday.
The agent did not elaborate on whether Santiago was purporting to be linked to ISIS or simply inspired by the terrorist organization.
Federal authorities in Alaska said Santiago told them prior to the attack that he was hearing voices and that his mind was being controlled by the CIA. Santiago initially made similar claims during an interrogation following the shooting, but once he was transferred to the FBI office in Miramar, Florida, Santiago introduced the ISIS claim and never again mentioned mind control, Ferlazzo testified.
ISIS has not claimed responsibility for the January 6 attack at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Ferlazzo, who conducted the interview in Miramar, said only that Santiago claimed to be fighting for ISIS and that he’d been in touch via jihadi chat rooms with like-minded people who were planning attacks as well.
Santiago is charged with using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; performing an act of violence against a person at an airport serving international civil aviation that caused serious bodily injury; and causing the death of a person through the use of a firearm.
The latter two are punishable by death, while the first charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Authorities have said that Santiago confessed to the mass shooting, which they said he perpetrated after disembarking a plane from Anchorage and collecting a checked bag containing a Walther 9 mm pistol and two magazines.
At Tuesday’s hearing, the defense did not argue the prosecution’s assertion that Santiago posed a flight risk, as well as a danger to the community, and said that the defendant was prepared to be detained throughout his trial.
The judge ruled he be held without bond. His next court appearance is January 30.
Accused airport shooter Esteban Santiago told investigators after his arrest that he communicated with Islamic State terrorists or sympathizers in “jihadi chat rooms” before he killed five people in Fort Lauderdale, authorities said in court Tuesday.
“During the interview, the defendant admitted that he planned the attack,” Del Toro said. “He has admitted to all of the facts with respect to the terrible and tragic events of Jan. 6.”
“At various points … he said he carried out the attack because of government mind control,” Del Toro told the judge. “But he later said he did so because of ISIL … after participating in jihadi chat rooms.”
Oddly, no major media outlets are reporting information discovered hours after the deadly jihad attack on the Florida airport.
That is, that Santiago Joined MySpace as “Aashiq Hammad” and Recorded/Uploaded Islamic Music – apparently converting to Islam years before he even joined the military.
More via Judicial Watch:
The public records uncovered in the days after the massacre suggest Santiago (Hammad) is a radical Islamic terrorist that’s seriously committed to Islam. Besides taking on a Muslim name, he recorded three Islamic religious songs, including the Muslim declaration faith (“there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger”) known as the Shahada. He also posted a thread about downloading propaganda videos from Islamic terrorists on a weapons and explosives forum. The investigative news site that unearthed this disturbing information connected the dots between Santiago, who is of Puerto Rican descent, and Hammad, an identity he created in 2007.
This week a prominent Ft. Lauderdale businessman and longtime resident addressed a letter to the city’s mayor and commissioners blasting county and federal officials for covering up that “Aashiq Hammad, not Esteban Santiago, attacked our city and county.” The businessman, respected Ft. Lauderdale real estate entrepreneur Jim Morlock, specifically names Broward County’s elected sheriff Scott Israel, Florida senator Bill Nelson, the first to identify Santiago as the shooter on national television, and congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, ousted last summer as Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair over a scandalous plot to damage Bernie Sanders during the primary.
“Since when does a US Senator (Bill Nelson), not law enforcement, be the one to so quickly release this terrorist’s Hispanic name but nothing about his more relevant Islamic background?” the letter asks. Obama must have told Sen. Nelson to keep this from looking like a Muslim Terrorist attack during the last 12 days of his watch. Bad for his legacy.” Morlock goes on to state that it’s “better to portray this atrocity as white Hispanic Alaskan mental Iraq war vet gun violence.” The real estate entrepreneur proceeds to reveal that Santiago lives in walking distance to the only mosque in Alaska, was radicalized before he entered the military and was knowingly allowed to serve despite his Islamic sympathies thanks to “Obama’s PC military.”
The letter poses interesting questions, including why this Muslim terrorist chose Ft. Lauderdale out of all the nation’s airports and who Santiago knows in Broward county, which has a large and growing Islamic community.