Airport shooting highlights nexus between mentally ill, cops

Esteban Santiago, third from left, accused of fatally shooting several people and wounding multiple others at a crowded Florida airport baggage claim, is returned to Broward County's main jail after his first court appearance, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) – Just weeks before a gunman opened fire at Fort Lauderdale’s airport, authorities said he walked into an FBI office in Alaska, telling agents the government was controlling his mind.

Authorities say this kind of walk-in is a daily occurrence for law enforcement agencies and the difficulty is in assessing whether there’s a credible threat or they need medical help. Authorities say it takes a tremendous amount of resources, stretching already thin budgets at local, state and federal levels.

Law enforcement says each hotline tip and visit is documented, but there is usually no record of whether someone appears to be mentally ill because authorities don’t have the expertise to make that determination.

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