Jonathan Dean, spokesman for the Washington region’s busiest airport, Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall, said officials are working closely with federal and state security and law enforcement authorities to monitor the situation in Fort Lauderdale. At this point, there is no indication of any local threat, he said.
Dean said that customers will likely see a “heightened level of security” as airport officials and their partners “act with an abundance of precaution.”
Chicago police also have increased patrols at both O’Hare International and Midway airports, as is common practice, spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said via email.
“Travelers can expect to see additional officers walking in airport terminal areas as well as vehicular patrols in the arrival and departure areas,” Guglielmi said. “Anyone who observes any suspicious activity should report it to airport personnel or police.”
A spokeswoman for Reagan National and Dulles International airports reiterated the message of vigilance.
“Passengers who see something suspicious should pass that information to airport police or an airport employee,” said Kimberly Gibbs. “We all have a responsibility in helping to keep our airports safe.”
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) publicly identified the shooter as Esteban Santiago after being told the name by the head of the Transportation Security Administration, according to Ryan Brown, a spokesman for the senator. A federal law enforcement official also confirmed the name to The Washington Post.
The Federal Aviation Administration temporarily halted traffic at the Fort Lauderdale airport and flights were being diverted to other area airports. Travelers scheduled to travel to the area were urged to check with their airlines.
As of 3:45 p.m., Delta Airlines, which operates out of the terminal where the shooting took place in the baggage claim area, said it had diverted six Fort Lauderdale-bound flight to Palm Beach International Airport, Miami International Airport, Orlando International Airport and Jacksonville International Airport and canceled 14 flights.
The airline operates 33 peak-day flights from Fort Lauderdale to nine destinations.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian extended his condolences to those affected by the shooting.
“We’re grateful to the first responders on the scene who immediately went into action to evacuate our customers and employees,” he said.
Delta officials indicated that all employees were safe and accounted for and that they are continuing to cooperate with law enforcement officials in the investigation. The airline was sending members of the Delta Care Team to the airport to assist families and friends of customers affected by the shooting.
The airline also has issued a waiver for customers traveling to or from Fort Lauderdale that will allow them to change their travel plans without penalty.
American Airlines canceled all its Fort Lauderdale flights for the remainder of Friday and put a travel alert in place for customers scheduled to fly to or from the airport Friday and Saturday. The alert will allow customers to rebook their travel without change fees via aa.com or by contacting American reservations at 1-800-433-7300.
“The thoughts and prayers of the entire American Airlines family are with the Fort Lauderdale community,” airline officials said in a statement posted on its website. “The active shooter situation occurred in Terminal 2; American operates out of Terminal 3. All of our employees are safe and accounted for.”