Terry Andres arrived in Fort Lauderdale on Friday looking forward to an extended 16-day cruise with his wife, Ann.
He texted his oldest daughter as was customary to let her know the flight landed safely at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
But he wouldn’t leave the airport alive.
Andres, 62, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was one of five people killed Friday in the baggage claim area of Terminal 2 when a man opened fire with a semi-automatic handgun.
Ryan Kim, Andres’ 37-year-old daughter, said Saturday morning from her home in Virginia Beach that her mother wasn’t injured in the attack, and that she is still in disbelief that her father’s life could be taken so abruptly and violently.
“I know that everyone always says that people are the greatest in the world, but he was the greatest person you could know,” Kim said. “He never had a horrible word to say about anyone or anything.”
Kim said she doesn’t have the full story of exactly what happened, but she knows her parents were in the Delta Sky Club in Terminal 2 before retrieving their luggage. Terry Andres left to get a luggage cart. He turned to his wife, waving that he had the cart.
“Then everything happened,” Kim said. “And after all the ruckus ended, they didn’t realize that my dad wasn’t there right away.”
Army veteran Esteban Santiago, of Anchorage, Alaska, has been identified by authorities as the shooter. In addition to five people killed, six people suffered severe enough injuries to be sent to the hospital.
Santiago's relatives said the 26-year-old military veteran suffered from mental health problems.
Kim said she was in a movie theater Friday with her husband when she got the text that her parents had landed safely. When the couple got home at about 1:30 p.m., Kim’s husband turned on the TV and saw there was a shooting in Fort Lauderdale.
“I heard them say baggage claim and my first thoughts were maybe they had gotten their luggage already and were gone,” she said. “But I immediately called my mom.”
When she finally reached her mother, Kim said she asked if she was OK, and her mom started to cry. She thought maybe she was just shaken, anyone anywhere near a shooting would be reasonably upset, adrenaline running on high.
Kim asked to speak with her father.
“I said, ‘Put Dad on the phone. Put Dad on the phone,’” Kim said. “She said, ‘I can’t.’”
Kim asked why.
“She said, ‘Because he’s been shot.’”
Andres, who was raised in Millville, New Jersey, was married to Ann for nearly four decades. He volunteered with the Oceana Volunteer Fire Department in Virginia Beach and worked for a total of about 20 years at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, most recently serving as a radiological control technician.
Kim said her father played golf and tennis. He traveled often for work, one reason why he and Ann were looking forward to 16 days together.
“They hadn’t been on a vacation like this before,” she said.
Andres is survived by his wife, daughters Ryan Kim and Whitney Rodgers, and three grandchildren.
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