Broward County police failed in their response to a mass shooting in 2017 at the Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport because they were at a retirement party, a new lawsuit filed by the widow of one of the five victims claims.
Ann Andres, the widow of 62-year-old Terry Andres, filed a lawsuit in Broward Circuit Court on Thursday claiming that sheriff’s deputies were eating cake in conference room and celebrating a detective’s retirement when shots began on Jan. 6, 2017.
Terry Andres was just days shy of his 63rd birthday when he was gunned down by Esteban Santiago, a military veteran who confessed to the killings. Santiago is currently failed at the Federal Detention Center in Miami. He initially said he was under government mind control at the time of the shootings which occurred near the baggage claim area.
The lawsuit claims deputies were not in the baggage claim area as they should have been when the shots rang out.
“Rather, members of BSO (Broward Sheriff’s Office) were having a retirement party in a conference room,” the lawsuit claims.
“The reason that it’s important is that there’s a security plan at the airport with deputies assigned to specific areas and that was not adhered to at the time of the shooting,” said David DiPietro, the lawyer representing Ann Andres.
Ann Andres saw Santiago kill a man next to her as she arrived to pick up her husband from the airport. Amid the chaos, she found her husband face down and unresponsive near the baggage claim carousel.
“Ann constantly lives with the violent images of Terry’s traumatic death and says ‘it will never leave [her] thoughts and nightmares,’” the lawsuit said, via the Sun-Sentinel.
Andres lawsuit is the second wrongful death lawsuit in connection to the mass shooting.