FORT LAUDERDALE, Fl. -- When Ann Kincer’s plane touched down in Fort Lauderdale, Friday afternoon, she was in a hurry: She, her mother and her twin daughters were due at the beach to meet up with family friends. One of her daughters wanted to stop for lunch, but the family made a beeline for the car rental agency instead. They had somewhere they needed to be.
Minutes later, as Kincer picked up her rental car, shots rang out across the airport. She saw police racing toward Terminal 2. Sirens sounded in the distance.
She didn’t know exactly what had happened at first -- no one did. Over the next several hours, local and national news agencies would report that Esteban Santiago, a former National Guard and Army Reserve member, had opened fire on the crowd at a baggage claim, killing five people and wounding eight more.
Then, Kincer only knew that her family had narrowly escaped being in the eye of a tragedy.
"You start thinking about the things that happened -- how quickly you got off the plane, how quickly you went to the bathroom," she said. "Normally, we kick back and relax, but our friends were waiting."
Other passengers were grounded for up to six hours, according to CNN, as authorities worked to arrest Santiago, clear the scene and dispel the panic that had erupted there. Kincer and her family, having escaped the shooting, were able to leave more quickly. She drove to the beach, still in shock, and met up with her friends.
"When we got here, one of our friends’ dads said, ‘I have never been so unbelievably happy to see you,’" she said. "And it hit me right at that moment that minutes can change your life."