Ft. Lauderdale-based National Marine Suppliers put employees on alert this afternoon after a shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport just blocks away.
Five people are dead and 13 more were injured after a man pulled a gun from his checked baggage in the baggage claim area and opened fire, according to media reports.
About 1:30 this afternoon, airport workers drove passengers out of the airport on motorized baggage carts and began driving down Southwest Second Avenue in Ft. Lauderdale, which marine industry workers described as quite a sight.
“People were driving luggage carts full of people,” said Tom Rowe, director of marketing and business development at National Marine, which is on Southwest Second Avenue. “They were like zombie people. These people said they heard gunshots. They didn’t know where they were or where they were going, they were just told to leave.”
National Marine had locked the doors after the shooting, Rowe said, but reopened to help the stranded travelers.
“We got coolers of water, got them Ubers and hotel rooms,” he said, noting that company co-owner Mary duToit gave her shoes to someone walking down the street barefoot.
About 3:30 p.m., police officers arrived at the business.
“Then cops came and took the people that didn’t work here,” Rowe said. “Now they are asking us to leave and go home.”
PHOTOS BY TOM ROWE