ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) — The man who fatally shot a woman and her 23-month-old grandson inside of a Publix in Royal Palm Beach showed sinister signs well before he pulled the trigger on the victims and himself, authorities said.
Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office investigators identified the shooter as 55-year-old Timothy J. Wall.
Speaking with 7News in Friday, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said Thursday morning’s tragedy could have been prevented.
“There was a chance this could be stopped. Do you know why? The reason is, he’s on Facebook. He has said, ‘I want to kill people and children,’” he said. “He’s got friends. Obviously they saw that.”
Authorities said the suspect lived just around the corner from the child’s Royal Palm Beach home.
7News cameras captured a Sunny Isles Beach Police cruiser parked outside of the young victim’s home in Royal Palm Beach, Friday.
The child’s father is an evidence specialist with Sunny Isles Beach Police.
Christina Wall, who was once married to Wall’s brother, said she’s just as shocked as everyone else.
“I feel bad for the family of the victims. It’s horrible,” she said.
Bradshaw said Wall’s ex-wife knew something was wrong with him.
“His ex-wife said he’s been acting strange. He thinks he’s being followed. He’s paranoid,” he said. “You think a damn soul told us about that? No, and if it sounds like I’m angry, I am.”
Investigators said Wall shot the victims in the produce section of the store located along the 1100 block of Royal Palm Beach Boulevard, Thursday morning.
“He approaches her around 11:34 when he pulls out his gun, he walks over, behind one aisle to the next, where the child was parked in a little shopping cart, he rakes out his gun, and he fires one round, killing the child,” said PBSO Maj. Talal Masri. “The grandma instinctively jumps in, she tries to stop him, she struggles with him, his gun jams. He was able to pull her apart and push her down to the ground, and he shoots her down while she’s on the ground.”
Shopper Juan Guardia said he heard gunfire.
“I hear one shot in that moment, and I run,” he said.
Officials said the suspect walked away, but he did not go far.
“He takes the same gun he had in his hand, goes down where he started, and he shoots himself, killing himself,” said Masri.
Detectives towed away a red scooter and a maroon SUV before they reopened the parking lot.
A small memorial continues to grow on a sidewalk outside of the store.
Aniya Hernandez, who has a 1-year-old herself, left a stuffed animal.
“I don’t believe someone has the right to take a child’s life,” she said. “That really impacts me.”
Shoppers who left belongings inside of the Publix were allowed to retrieve them on Friday. The supermarket, however, is expected to remain closed until Saturday.
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