US Airport shooting suspect’s gun ‘given back after health tests’

(BBC) A handgun taken from the suspect in Florida’s deadly airport shooting during a mental health evaluation last year was returned to him a month later, police say.

Alaskan police said it was unclear if it was the gun used in the attack.

Esteban Santiago, 26, opened fire in Fort Lauderdale airport after flying from Alaska with a gun in his luggage.

Five people died, among them Georgia resident Olga Woltering, originally from Ipswich in eastern England.

Mr Santiago had walked into an FBI office in Alaska in November, agitated and incoherent, the FBI and Anchorage police said.

He was carrying a loaded magazine but had left his handgun in his car, with his newborn child.

During the later mental health evaluation, he told the FBI he was hearing voices and believed he was being controlled by a US intelligence agency.

But the authorities found no wrongdoing, and the gun was returned in December.

Karen Loeffler, the US attorney for Alaska, told journalists: “As far as I know this is not a person that would have been prohibited from having a gun.”

She explained that federal law only allows for gun rights to be taken away from someone on mental health grounds if they are “adjudicated mentally ill”.

FBI agent George Piro said earlier that the suspect had travelled to Fort Lauderdale specifically to carry out the attack.

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