BSO deputy arrested months after allegedly leaking video of Fort Lauderdale airport shooting

A Broward Sheriff’s Office deputy who was suspended with pay earlier this year for allegedly leaking video of a shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to TMZ was arrested Wednesday.

Michael Dingman, 47, turned himself in at his employer’s headquarters Wednesday morning and was taken to the main jail, the Sun Sentinel first reported.

Dingman is accused of secretly recording security footage that shows a gunman firing at random Jan. 6 in the baggage claim area of Terminal 2. The suspected gunman has been identified as Esteban Santiago, 26, who remains behind bars. 

Authorities said Dingman, who worked at the airport and was described as a high-ranking law enforcement officer with security clearance, used a cellphone to record off of a monitor, not realizing that part of his own reflection was captured on the footage that was likely sold to TMZ.

The images that authorities said showed Dingman’s reflection were turned over to the FBI.

According to an arrest report, Dingman told a detective, “Do you guys think I made money on this thing? Because if so, I didn’t. You can search my bank records if you’d like, but you aren’t going to find anything.”

Investigators found that Dingman had engaged in several phone calls with people from TMZ and had also contacted other media outlets, the arrest report said. 

Dingman faces charges of tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, using a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony, using a public record to commit a crime and violating public records law.

Dingman’s status with BSO changed Tuesday to suspended without pay.

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Report: Lack of command stymied response to airport shooting

Law enforcement command and communication systems broke down following last January’s deadly shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, leading to confusion and eventually panic as a false report of a second gunman spread among officers, passengers and employees, a report released Tuesday says.

The Broward County report, prepared by an outside consulting firm, shows the extent of the chaos that reigned at the airport in the minutes and hours after the Jan. 6 shooting that left five people dead and six wounded. About 2,600 law enforcement officers from throughout South Florida rushed to the airport, but the Broward Sheriff’s Office didn’t take adequate control of the response, the 82-page report says. Without a plan or system to deploy them, most deputies and officers were stranded outside the airport and their presence overwhelmed the radio and cellphone systems.

“Most of the law enforcement personnel who responded lacked clear instructions, objectives and roles,” the report says. It also said there was initial confusion about what role the FBI played in the investigation — shootings at airports are a federal crime.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel strongly disputed the report, saying he, airport manager Mark Gale and the FBI agent in charge quickly took command of the situation shortly after the shooting. He conceded he hadn’t read the report, saying he had received it Monday night.

“It’s just not accurate,” Israel told a press conference Tuesday. “Critics are going to criticize, but I was out there.” He admitted there was no plan for staging and deploying that many officers at the airport, but said a lot of the confusion and perceived lack of command was caused by the overwhelmed radio system. He said staging plans are being improved and a new radio system is being purchased.

“Command was unified, we knew what was going on (but) it wasn’t perfect,” he said.

Authorities say Esteban Santiago, an Iraq war veteran from Anchorage, Alaska, flew to Fort Lauderdale with a 9mm handgun in a box he put in checked luggage. After landing he retrieved the weapon, loaded it in a bathroom and came out firing randomly in a crowded baggage claim area until he exhausted his ammunition. He surrendered 85 seconds after the first shot was fired. The report praises the initial response and capture of Santiago, who admitted the shooting to investigators.

But chaos broke out again 90 minutes after Santiago’s barrage when false reports of a second shooter sent people stampeding, injuring 40. The report says that could have been largely avoided if police officers had earphones to listen to their radios without civilians overhearing them.

More than 12,000 passengers were at the airport during the shooting. Many of them ran out through emergency exits onto the airfield after the false second report. There was also terror caused by plainclothes police and deputies, some wearing masks to protect their identities, running through the airport with their guns drawn as they responded to the false report. That could have resulted in uniformed officers accidentally shooting them.

Overall, Israel, Gale and county officials said they are proud of the response but will implement the report’s 132 recommended changes as needed.

“It is clear we have some work to do,” Gale said. “That is not to say we performed poorly that day, not by a long shot. But we do recognize that as professionals we need to continually improve our performance.”

Stephen Lloyd, recently retired after 40 years with the Federal Aviation Administration, told Local 10 News that the influx of passengers running on the tarmac and out of the terminals was among the biggest problems.

“It’s dangerous for folks to be out there in the airport running around,” Lloyd said. “It’s clear to me there was significant lack of understanding of security protocols and procedures by some of the folks who were supposed to be providing safety and security at that time.”

The FBI says Santiago admitted committing the shootings in recorded interviews with agents. His federal trial has been delayed until at least January as prosecutors decide whether to seek the death penalty. Santiago, a diagnosed schizophrenic, told FBI agents he acted under government mind control and then claimed inspiration by the Islamic State extremist group. No terrorism links have been found.

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Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport shooting victim files legal action

Timothy and Olga Woltering had just arrived in town for a cruise to celebrate his 90th birthday when Esteban Santiago started shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Olga, who was 84, was killed along with four others. Her husband witnessed the attack and was with her body for hours during the chaos that followed the shooting, said the family’s attorney, David DiPietro.

DiPietro this week filed legal action in the case on behalf of the family, asking a judge to allow the husband’s deposition in leiu of a planned lawsuit aimed at Delta Airlines as well as other defendants including the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Broward County Commission.

“His gun should have never been in that airport,” said DiPietro.

The attorney alleges that Delta and other airlines routinely violate state law by returning passengers’ firearms in the terminals rather than in cargo areas.  

“There’s no law that allows delta to turn over a firearm when a passenger has arrived,” said DiPietro. “We believe he was required to pick up the firearm in the cargo area not in the terminal.”

He said the airline allowed Santiago to fly with bullets in a magazine rather than in a separate box as required by the TSA and failed to properly safeguard the weapon, noting that now the airline places a zip tie around gun cases before returning the weapons and has off-duty BSO deputies on special detail escort gun owners out of the airport.  

“Is this a little bit of hindsight is 20 20?” Local 10 investigative reporter Bob Norman asked DiPietro.

“No, because we’ve learned after 911 that terrorism is a foreseeable risk,” he answered. “Just because everybody’s doing it doesn’t mean everybody’s right.”

During the law firm’s investigation it learned that Santiago was unruly during a flight on his way to Fort Lauderdale from Alaska, said DiPietro, providing another reason the gun should not have been returned to him in the airport. Delta had no comment on the legal action and DiPietro said he expects to file the lawsuit in the coming weeks. 

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Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport shooting victim files legal action

Timothy and Olga Woltering had just arrived in town for a cruise to celebrate his 90th birthday when Esteban Santiago started shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Olga, who was 84, was killed along with four others. Her husband witnessed the attack and was with her body for hours during the chaos that followed the shooting, said the family’s attorney, David DiPietro.

DiPietro this week filed legal action in the case on behalf of the family, asking a judge to allow the husband’s deposition in leiu of a planned lawsuit aimed at Delta Airlines as well as other defendants including the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Broward County Commission.

“His gun should have never been in that airport,” said DiPietro.

The attorney alleges that Delta and other airlines routinely violate state law by returning passengers’ firearms in the terminals rather than in cargo areas.  

“There’s no law that allows delta to turn over a firearm when a passenger has arrived,” said DiPietro. “We believe he was required to pick up the firearm in the cargo area not in the terminal.”

He said the airline allowed Santiago to fly with bullets in a magazine rather than in a separate box as required by the TSA and failed to properly safeguard the weapon, noting that now the airline places a zip tie around gun cases before returning the weapons and has off-duty BSO deputies on special detail escort gun owners out of the airport.  

“Is this a little bit of hindsight is 20 20?” Local 10 investigative reporter Bob Norman asked DiPietro.

“No, because we’ve learned after 911 that terrorism is a foreseeable risk,” he answered. “Just because everybody’s doing it doesn’t mean everybody’s right.”

During the law firm’s investigation it learned that Santiago was unruly during a flight on his way to Fort Lauderdale from Alaska, said DiPietro, providing another reason the gun should not have been returned to him in the airport. Delta had no comment on the legal action and DiPietro said he expects to file the lawsuit in the coming weeks. 

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Fort Lauderdale airport shooting suspect’s mental health stable, lawyer says

A defense lawyer said the mental condition of an Alaska man accused of killing five people and wounding six at a South Florida airport has stabilized.The attorney for Esteban Santiago, 27, of Anchorage, Alaska, said at a hearing Friday that his client …

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