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Airport Shooting Suspect Appointed Public Defender

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A legal journey that could mean life or death for the suspect in the Florida airport mass shooting has begun with appointment of a public defender to represent the Iraq war veteran.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Valle told 26-year-old Esteban Santiago at a hearing Monday that the three federal charges lodged against him could mean the death penalty if he's convicted. The charges include committing violence against people at an international airport resulting in death, and two firearms offenses.

The Iraq war veteran is accused of killing five people and wounding six more at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday.

Santiago has been in custody since Friday's shooting.