Three people are dead, including a child, after police say someone opened fire at a Publix grocery store in Royal Palm Beach, Florida.
The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office wrote in a statement that the shooter is among the deceased. Those killed are an adult male, an adult female and a child, law enforcement said. Officials from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene to find all three people dead. The statement clarified the incident was “not an active shooter situation.”
“Detectives are investigating a shooting that took place INSIDE Publix in RPB. Upon arrival deputies located three individuals deceased from gunshot wounds, one adult male, one adult female and one child. The shooter is one of the deceased. This was NOT an active shooter situation,” the statement said.
Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay told WPTV the deceased child was only a toddler. The names of the victims have not been released.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Witnesses Described a Routine Grocery Shopping Trip Turning Deadly Thursday Morning
Witnesses told the Sun-Sentinel about the tragedy, saying they were running errands when their shopping trip turned deadly. Lynn Waterman told newspaper reporters she was checking out at the cash register when she heard the gunfire. She thought it was balloons popping, she told the newspaper. The cashier said there was a shooter, and she started running, she said, according to the article.
“Everybody ran out the store and I stood in the parking lot a while and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Why am I standing out here? He could come out and shoot us’,” Waterman, 61, told the newspaper.
She told the newspaper the store was not busy at the time of the shooting. She realized later she had left $10 on the counter, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
“I’m glad I’m alive, that’s all,” she told the newspaper.
2. Police Are Investigating the Relationship Between the Shooter & the Victims & Believe They May Have Known Each Other
CBS12 News reported that the Publix parking lot is blocked off with crime scene tape and that multiple patrol cars from the sheriff’s office are on the scene.
According to The Palm Beach Post, police said the shooting took place just after 11:30 a.m. and the relationship between the victims and the shooter was unclear.
“We’re trying to determine what led up to the shooting,” Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office Spokeswoman Teri Barbera told The Sun-Sentinel. “We responded to a shooting, we found three deceased — male, female, child. We believe that it’s possible they know each other. The gunman is deceased. What led up to this, again, to be determined by our detectives that are here on scene.”
3. Emergency Vehicles ‘Just Kept Coming’ in the Moments After the Shooting
Witness Joey Mendoza, 62, of Royal Palm Beach, told the Sun-Sentinel he missed the shooting by minutes. His plans were to buy some sandwiches from the Publix deli, he told the newspaper. As he was pulling into the parking lot, he saw police officers sprinting with their guns drawn, he told reporters.
“A couple of minutes later, I would’ve been in there,” he told the newspaper. “That’s what I’m thinking. Two, three minutes later, usually, because I parked right in the front. At that point, I didn’t bother getting out. I saw them running in, I didn’t get out of the vehicle. … They just kept coming. Cruiser after cruiser, ambulance after ambulance, fire truck after fire truck.”
Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay told WPTV she was saddened by the news.
“This one is hard. You don’t like to hear about these things in your district. You don’t like to hear about them anywhere in the country,” McKinlay said.
4. A Twitter User Shared One of the First Photos From the Scene of the Shooting When He Went to Publix to Buy Water
A witness wrote on Twitter that he was going to Publix to buy water when someone walked into the store and opened fire.
“Hope eveyrone is alive. Glad I don’t live on Loxahatchee, Fl,” the post said in part.
The Twitter user later corrected the original post to say that the person walked in wearing a trench coat, and the gun the person had was not a shotgun. Officials did not immediately say what type of gun was used in the shooting.
“Update: Nit a shotgun, this seems to have been a mass shoting. Mtiple people are assumed dead including to gunman who was said to had walked in with a dark trench coat on,” the person wrote on Twitter.
5. Police Were Interviewing Witnesses & Weren’t Letting People Move Their Cars
Publix issued a statement saying, “Our thoughts are with those who are impacted by this tragedy,” according to The Palm Beach Post. “We are cooperating with the local law enforcement.
The outlet indicated that police allowed few people to leave the store and “it appeared most workers and some customers were being kept inside” for interviews. Police were also checking license plates and “people were not being allowed to move their vehicles,” The Palm Beach Post reported.
WPTV reported there were no traffic delays in the area.
This is a breaking news post that will be updated as new information becomes available.