At a Glance | May 29

New Jersey Native Pleads Guilty in Florida Airport Shooting That Killed Five

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A US military veteran born in New Jersey admitted killing five people and wounding six when he opened fire at a Florida airport. Esteban Santiago-Ruiz (right) pleaded guilty on May 23 to federal charges of committing acts of violence at an international airport. The 28-year-old retrieved a semi-automatic pistol and loaded ammunition clips from his checked luggage upon arriving at the airport on January 6, 2017. He loaded the weapon in the restroom and started shooting in the baggage claim area for two minutes before running out of bullets and surrendering to authorities. Five people died and 42 others were injured—just six from gunshot wounds. The judge declared Santiago-Ruiz, an Iraq war veteran diagnosed with schizophrenia, legally competent to enter a plea. The FBI said he told agents he carried out the attack on behalf of ISIS, but no evidence was found linking him to the terrorist group. Prosecutors said Santiago-Ruiz researched the layout of Los Angeles International Airport three days before the shooting in Florida. He will receive five consecutive life sentences and six consecutive 20-year terms in prison under conditions of a plea deal when he is sentenced on August 17.   


Son of First Responder at Boston Marathon Bombings Pleads Guilty for ISIS-Inspired Attack Plot

The son of a first responder at the scene of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 pleaded guilty on May 21 to multiple charges in connection with an ISIS-inspired plot to attack an unspecified college campus, according to federal prosecutors. Authorities arrested Alexander Ciccolo on July 4, 2015, after he bought four guns from an FBI informant. A prior conviction prohibited Ciccolo, 25, from possessing firearms. His father, Boston Police Captain Robert Ciccolo, alerted the FBI of his son’s desire to join ISIS. Recordings captured conversations in which the younger Ciccolo told the informant about his plans to commit acts of terrorism against places where a large number of people gather, such as college cafeterias, with the firearms and homemade explosives similar to those used in the Boston Marathon bombing. Agents observed Ciccolo buying a pressure cooker prior to his arrest. Investigators also discovered partially constructed Molotov cocktails in a search of his apartment and posts on one of his social media accounts with a photo of a dead American solider with the text “Thank you Islamic State!” Ciccolo will be sentenced on September 5 and faces 20 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release, according to the terms of his plea agreement.


Kansas Man Admits Hate Crime in Bar Shooting That Killed One, Injured Two

A Kansas man who killed one and injured two others in a shooting at a suburban Kansas City bar pleaded guilty to three federal hate crime charges on May 21. Adam Purinton killed Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounded Alok Madasani—both Indian nationals—and injured Kansas resident Ian Grillot when he shot the men at the bar on February 22, 2017. Purinton, 53, had been escorted out of the bar by Grillot and another individual after he screamed “get out of my country” to the other men and called one a terrorist. Purinton got a semi-automatic handgun from his home, returned to the bar, and shot Kuchibhotla and Madasani. Grillot chased after Purinton as he ran out of the bar and was also shot. Prosecutors and the defense are requesting life in prison without parole when Purinton is sentenced on July 2. He is already serving life in prison on a state murder charge


For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Analysis Bureau at analysis@njohsp.gov or 609-584-4000.