Amid Friday's chaos at the Fort Lauderdale airport, Minnesotans Kevin and Leisa Baartman crouched inside luggage bins on the tarmac, confused and terrified.
Moments earlier, the St. Louis Park couple had boarded their Fort Lauderdale-to-Minneapolis flight after a Caribbean cruise.
As he settled into his seat, Baartman looked out the window and saw people running from the terminal onto the tarmac. The flight crew announced a "code red" and told everyone to get off the plane.
Like others at the airport during Friday's shooting rampage, the Baartmans didn't know what was happening at first — that a gunman had killed five people in the baggage area. They just knew that something horrific had taken place.
For more than an hour, they waited on the tarmac for any word, learning a little more in cellphone exchanges with family members. Then, suddenly, there was another alarm, and a second wave of chaos.
"It was very scary … your legs are kind of shaking," said Kevin Baartman, 55. "You see little kids crying, not knowing what is going on. There was a lot of fear from a lot of people — the fear of not knowing" whether a shooter might be coming at them.
Police officers told the Baartmans to run for cover along a wall. "We felt like big ol' targets against the walls," Kevin said. "There were some [luggage] bins right there, so we sat in those."
They saw officers and others helping people during the rush to find safety.
Several Minnesotans were in the baggage claim area at the time of the attack.
"People started kind of screaming and trying to get out of any door they could or hide under the chairs," Mark Lea, a financial adviser from Elk River, told national news outlets. "He just kind of continued coming in, just randomly shooting at people, no rhyme or reason to it."
Lea said the shooter was wearing a "Star Wars" T-shirt, and that he walked into the baggage claim area, apparently from a bathroom, and opened fire with a handgun.
He said the man said nothing as he went through three magazines before giving up and sprawling spread-eagle on the floor as a police officer took him into custody. The shooter "had no intention of escaping," Lea said.
Travis Stiller, 33, of Inver Grove Heights, said he arrived at Terminal 2 moments before the gunfire erupted. He had taken an Uber ride to the airport for a 3:17 p.m. Delta flight back to Minneapolis after a work trip.
Minutes after being dropped off, he saw a swarm of police cars arrive and heard people screaming. Police officers hustled everyone behind any kind of barricade, he said.
"Everybody, move!" officers yelled as people ran and screamed, he said. Many abandoned their luggage as they fled the terminal.
Stiller crouched behind the pillars between Terminals 2 and 3 to hide, then rushed to help those around him. "It was a lot of chaos," he said, with everyone confused for a time about whether a second shooter might be on the loose.
Soon he saw the aftermath of the shooting. "There was a huge pool of blood," he said. "I saw a glimpse of it as we were running in the other direction."
Jeff Sprecher, 53, and his godson Lucas DeGree, 25, both of Fargo, N.D., were waiting for a hotel shuttle outside the airport when someone ran out from the baggage area saying there had been a shooting.
"He told us to run," Sprecher said Friday night from his Florida hotel. "I was dumbfounded, then I started seeing other people run." A few minutes later, they were able to get a taxi to their hotel.
Sprecher and DeGree had been on the same Minneapolis-to-Fort Lauderdale flight that the shooter was on, but they didn't realize that until they saw the news. He remembered seeing the man and thinking he seemed out of sorts. "I had a lot of weird feelings about him," Sprecher said.
At baggage claim, Sprecher noticed that the shooter was one of the last people to pick up his bag. As he and his godson left the terminal, he saw the shooter "carrying a case" toward the restroom.
Sprecher and DeGree are sticking to their original plan to join others on a cruise that departs from Florida on Saturday. "My mom called and said not to go, but life has to go on," he said. "It's very tragic and unfortunate."