Sevier County man recounts Fort Lauderdale airport shooting

(Courtesy: WATE)
(Courtesy: WATE)

SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE/WKRN) – A Sevier County resident who witnessed the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting has a chilling description of the terrifying ordeal.

He told WATE the alleged shooter, Esteban Santiago, “had the coldest most predator eyes I’ve ever seen in a human being.”

Ryan DeSear, his wife, and his 12-year-old son were just feet from the gunman when he opened fire Friday from the baggage claim.

This booking photo provided by the Broward Sheriff's Office shows suspect Esteban Ruiz Santiago, 26, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Broward Sheriff's Office via AP)
Esteban Ruiz Santiago. (Broward Sheriff’s Office via AP)

“I don’t know what his motives are. He never spoke. He just walked along—pow, pow, pow, pow—just like that and emptied a full magazine,” he told WATE.

Desear said they heard a loud shout immediately behind them before hearing what sounded like a fire cracker.

“He was going around shooting people at our luggage carousel. He was shooting people very close, within a few feet of us,” he added.

Forunately, Desear and his families’ lives were spared, but for a couple standing near them, their outcome was tragically different.

“We got very lucky. I went over and checked the pulse of the two in front of the luggage. They were clearly dead at that point. There was no question,” he told WATE.

An FBI agent wipes off his shoe while working the crime scene in Terminal 2 at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
An FBI agent wipes off his shoe while working the crime scene in Terminal 2 at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Desear added, “I really believe that god protected us. I really believe that in my heart of hearts.”

The father said he told his wife and that that statistically, “we’re in the clear now,” and said he’s survived, floods, a wildfire, and even a hijacking.

“With God as my witness, he didn’t ruin the Desears’ lives. I can promise you that. We are better than that. And he will not get to us. And we’re going to survive this just fine,” he concluded.

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