UVM athletes safe after Fla. airport shooting


Chaos erupted after shots were fired at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale International Airport Friday. Police scrambled to the scene. Airplanes were evacuated.

Sources close to the University of Vermont Women’s Swim team confirmed that video from the scene showed the female athletes running across the tarmac to safety. According to UVM’s website, the team was in Florida for an annual training trip. The team posted video to Snapchat as they prepared to fly home... a flight that never happened.

The airport tweeted the shooting occurred at baggage claim in terminal two, which includes Delta and Air Canada.

There is an ongoing incident in Terminal 2, Baggage Claim. Media availability is at the staging area. — Ft. Laude-Hlwd Int’l (@FLLFlyer) January 6, 2017

Friday afternoon, police said five people were killed and 13 more were wounded. A law enforcement source identified the shooter to CBS News as Esteban Santiago-Ruiz. They say he has a concealed weapons permit and minor criminal history. Authorities say he is now in custody.

“He was not targeting. Randomly shooting like he was walking through the woods,” witness Mark Lea said. “Didn’t say a thing.”

UVM swimmers took to social media to let everyone back home know they were OK.

Our @UVMSwimming team and staff were at different terminal at Ft. Lauderdale airport. Team and staff have been evacuated and are safe #VCats — Vermont Athletics (@UVMathletics) January 6, 2017

A post on Snapchat said, “Yes, we are at Ft. Lauderdale Airport. We are all safe and in another terminal.”

Passengers were streaming back inside when another panic broke out from a different direction. People ran across the tarmac from the airport garage after reports of more gunfire. Groups took shelter behind cars while police searched the garage roof. The entire airport was closed to traffic.

UVM says the Catamounts will not participate in their road meet against UMBC and Howard scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. UVM was originally slated to fly from its annual training trip in Florida to Baltimore today in advance of the double dual meet.

Director of UVM Athletics Jeff Schulman released the statement saying, “this was a sad and tragic day in Fort Lauderdale and we appreciate all of the concern that has been expressed for the UVM Swim Team. Obviously our top priority is the well being of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff. I’ve been in contact throughout the day with Coach Cournoyer and am extremely thankful that all our safe. I very much appreciate Gerry’s leadership and care for our team members and look forward to welcoming them back to campus as soon as possible.” WCAX-TV