FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - A woman who lost her husband in the 2017 Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport mass shooting has filed a lawsuit that claims the tragedy could have been prevented if Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies had not been away at a retirement party.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Virginia Beach resident Ann Andres, cites multiple local agencies and their response to the Jan. 6 massacre that claimed five lives, including Andres’ husband, Terry Andres.
The couple had flown in for a cruise a few months shy of their 40th wedding anniversary. The victims were at the baggage claim area in Terminal 2 when Esteban Santiago pulled out his semi-automatic 9 mm handgun from his checked bag and opened fire.
Andres’ wrongful death suit in part accuses BSO deputies of being at the retirement party when the shooting began. It alleges “BSO failed to provide law enforcement support at the airport by not being present in the baggage claim area at the time of Santiago’s shooting. Rather, members of BSO were having a retirement party in a conference room.”
The widow survived the deadly rampage. According to her lawsuit, she was shuffled around the airport in the moments after the shooting when she “observed cake and balloons inside an office, indicating there had been a party in the office earlier that day.”
Santiago, 28, has since pleaded guilty. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 17.
7News has reached out to BSO for comment, but a spokesperson said they cannot discuss pending litigation. They did confirm there was a retirement around the time of the shooting.
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