PTSD unlikely factor in Florida airport shooting, SA psychiatrist says

Dr. Harry Croft: 'It's very rare' PTSD victims do 'horrific things'

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio psychiatrist said Monday that he doesn't believe combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder was a factor in a shooting rampage at a Fort Lauderdale airport.

Dr. Harry Croft, who specializes in combat PTSD, said despite reports that the accused shooter, Esteban Santiago, came back from a 10-month tour of Iraq from 2010 to 2011 a changed man, he doubts that was the reason for the mass shooting.

"The reality is, it's very rare that people with post-traumatic stress disorder do these kind of horrific things, injuring other people," Croft said. "The one exception is, sometimes, unfortunately, there might be some domestic violence."

Santiago's relatives said that he had reported hearing voices in his head.

Croft said when a loved one says they are hearing voices telling them to hurt themselves or others, that person should be taken seriously.    
"We need to, as a society, we need to, in Bexar County and San Antonio, look carefully at the laws, so that people don't fall through the cracks," Croft said.

Croft said if someone believes that a loved one is acting out, they should first try to talk to the person and encourage him to try and get help. If the individual doesn't get help, relatives or friends should reach out to a doctor or pastor.

He said if the person is posing an immediate threat to himself or someone else, call 911.

"If we believe people are likely to be dangerous to themselves or others, that's important," Croft said. "That follow-up is often where people get lost. They don't take their medications. They don't go to their visits."

On Monday evening, the Mayor's Fitness Council hosted a discussion about mental health. The discussion at the Central Library downtown covered topics such as depression, anxiety and stress.

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