Airport shooting witness says laptop in backpack stopped bullet

FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - One man said he’s lucky to be alive after he discovered his laptop inside his backpack stopped one of the Fort Lauderdale airport shooter’s bullets from hitting him, likely saving his life.

In the chaos and confusion of Terminal 2 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport , Friday afternoon, one man had an unlikely guardian angel on his shoulder. “I was wearing a backpack on both shoulders, and when we went to the floor, I dropped and the backpack was still on my back,” said Steve Frappier.

Frappier was inside the baggage claim area as bullets flew and people ducked for cover. “There was a lot of bunched up traffic by the conveyor belt, and so I moved to the distant side of it, and then I heard some firecracker sounds, like little ‘pop, pop, pop,'” he said, “and then a man yelled out, ‘This guy’s got a gun! Everyone down!’ And so we all dropped down to the ground, and that’s when the shooter started firing at people.”

Steve Frappier
Steve Frappier

Frappier said he was right in the line of fire. “I was turned in such a way, at one point, the shooter shot towards my direction,” he said. “There were several other people around me.”

Frappier didn’t know it at the time, but he had been hit. “I felt something on my back, but there was also luggage falling on me from the conveyor belt. Where I was, there was stacked up luggage from the belt, and so when I felt something kind of near my back, I figured, ‘Well, that was just that suitcase that fell on me,'” he said.

It wasn’t until he when to the bathroom that Frappier realized what had happened. “It was only several minutes later, when I went to the bathroom to check everything out, that I saw there was a bullet in my laptop and my bag,” he said.

The bullet was stopped by Frappier’s Macbook Pro, which he nearly left behind on the plane. “In the rush to get off the plane, I just shoved my laptop into my backpack,” he said.

Frappier realized the same thing he used to do business or entertain himself on a layover would also save his life. “It was in the bathroom with other people there, and it was kind of this moment where I needed other people to validate, you know, they were looking at that and going, ‘Oh, my gosh,’ you know, in order for me to believe that it was real,” he said.

“Then, later, when I gave it to the FBI, they found the bullet in my backpack,” Frappier added.

Frappier said, if the laptop had been at a different angle or just a couple inches over, this would have been a different outcome. “If my backpack was not on my back with the laptop in it, and if I didn’t have the type of backpack that I did, the bullet would have gone through my shoulders,” he said.

Now he’s left haunted by what he witnessed inside Terminal 2. “There was one man on the ground, he got shot in the head, and his wife was right next to him, and I just — I’m gonna remember that, and I feel so horribly for them,” he said.

Frappier was also left forever grateful for the unidentified man who alerted other passengers about the gunman. “I feel incredibly lucky. I feel lucky for just the circumstances, but also for that man that yelled out, ’cause he saved so many of us, and I want to thank him, whoever he was,” he said.

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