Aussie journo's near miss in airport shooting

AN Australian journalist has revealed how he and his wife were caught up in last month's shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

James Drew, a former army reservist and his wife, Lori Ostrow, a former journalist for this organisation, had only just entered the airport when the lone gunman opened fire, reports the ABC

"We just hear these two big thuds and knowing that it was a shooting everybody freaked out and everybody started running," Mr Drew told the ABC.

The couple had been on their way to a family event when the gunman started targeting random travellers. 

"I was very scared for my life," Ms Ostrow said.

"I had no idea what was going on, but luckily my husband got into fight-or-flight mode and grabbed all of our luggage and secured a barricade to protect me."

Mr Drew was able to cordon off an area between two concrete polls with his luggage, forming a barrier behind which they hid as the gunman fired just metres away. 

Other passengers made their way behind their barricade as well. 

"I figure if there's a bullet or even a ricocheting bullet we're better off if it goes through a couple of bags than it just hitting us directly."


In the end, five people died in the airport shooting. 

Florida Senator Bill Nelson identified the shooter as Esteban Santiago.

"He had a military ID, we don't know if it is current, but every time you get a bunch of people like at baggage claim or like outside of TSA (Transportation Security Administration) where you're going to security or lines at the ticket counter, it's a soft target," Nelson told CNN.

A county official said the Fort Lauderdale airport shooter pulled a checked gun out of a bag, loaded the gun in a bathroom and came out shooting.

Witness John Schlicher told Fox News that as he retrieved his baggage, "I heard the first shot. As I did, the person right next to me fell to the ground... It was very surreal."

The shooter "was holding a handgun. He was firing into the crowd.

Everyone was standing there waiting for the luggage," he said.

Several passengers were huddled inside a supply closet at the airport, while awaiting the all-clear.

"We were all here in Terminal 2 at Delta when the shooting started," one of them, identified only as Duane, told CNN by telephone.

"Everybody just scattered. It was mass hysteria," he said.

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