Ball State professor uninjured at Fort Lauderdale airport during shooting
One Ball State professor found himself at the Fort Lauderdale airport during the Jan. 6 shooting.
Lawrence Judge, professor of kinesiology, was traveling to Fort Lauderdale from Indianapolis. He was on his way to pick up his rental car when he noticed that something was going on.
“Luckily I did not see the shooter. I knew something was wrong when I was in the rental car area as it took a very long time to get out of the airport,” Judge said. “When I glanced toward the terminal when I was leaving I saw what appeared to be a lot of chaos. I was unsure what happened.”
The shooter — an Army veteran who complained that the government was controlling his mind — drew a gun from his checked luggage on arrival at the Fort Lauderdale airport and opened fire in the baggage claim area, killing five people and wounding eight, authorities said.
The gunman was identified as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago of Anchorage, Alaska, who served in Iraq with the National Guard but was demoted and discharged last year for unsatisfactory performance. His brother said he had been receiving psychological treatment recently.
Judge was traveling to Fort Lauderdale to teach a USA Track and Field Coaches Education Level I course at Florida Atlantic University. The university is in Boca Raton, which is about 25 miles away from the airport in Fort Lauderdale.
Judge decided to carry on his luggage that day instead of checking it and said he is very blessed he did.
"My decision to carry on my luggage could have been difference between life and death. I feel very blessed. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved in this terrible tragedy,” Judge said. “My next task is trying to get a flight home as the FLL airport has been closed all day ... and my flight has been cancelled.”