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5 dead in airport shooting; Hawkins had just left

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (BP) — At least five people are dead and eight wounded after a gunman allegedly opened fire today (Jan. 6) in a baggage claim area of the Fort Lauderdale International Airport. Among air travelers to narrowly miss the shooting were GuideStone Financial Resources President O.S. Hawkins and his wife Susie.

The shooting occurred in the baggage claim area of Terminal 2, according to media reports.

The alleged shooter reportedly arrived in Fort Lauderdale on an Air Canada flight, “pulled a gun out of a checked bag, loaded it in a bathroom and started shooting,” the Associated Press reported. One witness told AP the shooter emptied his weapon and then reloaded.

The suspected gunman is in custody, according to CNN.

Early Friday morning, Hawkins tweeted he was “looking forward to preaching Sunday” morning at First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, where he was pastor from 1978-1993. He and his wife then apparently flew to Fort Lauderdale.

At 12:10 p.m. Eastern Time, after news of the shooting broke, Hawkins tweeted, “Thx for all the calls. Multiple dead in FLL airport shooting thirty minutes after Susie and I passed thru baggage claim.”

Among those to respond to Hawkins’ tweet with expressions of shock and gratitude for his safety were author and women’s Bible study leader Beth Moore and Adam Dooley, pastor of Dallas-area Sunnyvale First Baptist Church.

Greg Jackson, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Camden, Ohio, tweeted, “God has you right where you need to be to minister to the people of Ft Lauderdale this weekend.”