Timothy J. Wall was identified as the suspect who police allege shot a woman and a toddler before turning the gun on himself at a Publix grocery store in Royal Palm Beach, Florida.
Officials told Local 10 News the child, a boy, would have turned 2 later this month. Officials told the news outlet the woman and child were grandmother and grandson. The father of the boy was called to identify his son, the news station reported.
The Sun-Sentinel reported the shooting occurred at 1180 Royal Palm Beach Boulevard in The Crossroads at Royal Palm Beach plaza at about 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. The entire plaza was blocked by police for hours after the shooting, the article said.
Royal Palm Beach is a village about 15 miles west of West Palm Beach and just north of Wellington.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Witnesses Described a The Chaotic Scene as a Trip to the Grocery Store Turned Lethal for a Woman & Toddler
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.
Another witness, Dr. Ron Glassman, told Local 10 News he was close when the shots broke out.
“I was about 100 feet away when I saw everyone running out of the store and yelling, ‘Get back … shots fired,’” Glassman told the news outlet.
Another witness, Juan Guardia, told the news station that a Publix employee shouted there was a shooting and told people to run.
“She said, ‘Run, run. It’s a shooting, shooting run!’” said Juan Guardia, who was at the deli area when he heard a gunshot come from the produce section. “After that, I got out from the back side, the back gate.”
Elvis Way, who has been a grocery bagger for 13 years, told The Sun-Sentinel he was outside of the grocery store to collect shopping carts when shoppers and other workers began fleeing the store and screaming “Run!” He told the newspaper he hid at a nearby Dollar Tree store, and warned shoppers there while crouching on the floor. He later ran outside and his near law enforcement, he told the newspaper.
2. Police Believe Wall Did Not Know the Baby Boy or the Grandmother & Described the Shooting as a ‘Murder-Suicide’
Officials described the shooting as a murder-suicide, writing in an early statement that it was “not an active shooter situation.” Police told Local 10 News the shooting occurred near the produce section of the grocery store.
“The family has invoked Marsy’s Law, therefore, the names of the victims: 1 yr/old boy & his grandmother will not be released. The gunman’s name will be released after his next of kin has been notified. There is NO known motive or relationship between the gunman and the victims,” said a statement from PBSO the evening of June 10.
CBS12 News reported in the hours after the shooting 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 at the time.
“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. A PBSO Deputy Was in the Area at the Time of the Shooting & Emergency Vehicles ‘Just Kept Coming’ in the Moments After the Shooting
A sheriff’s deputy with the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office happened to be in the area of Publix when the shooting occurred, Local 10 News reported. The deputy rushed inside, but all three people were already deceased, the news station reported.
Barbera told The Sun-Sentinel the deputy had been at a nearby dry cleaner.
“We actually had a deputy that was at the dry cleaners down the way,” Barbera told the newspaper. “As soon as he heard the call go out, he immediately entered Publix.”
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 Said Wall Entered Publix With a Gun & Wearing a Trench Coat
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.
The Sun-Sentinel reported the gun was a handgun.
5. Police Officials Said the Investigation Was Expected to Be Lengthy
Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Teri Barbera told Local 10 News in the hours after the shooting that the process of naming the victims and suspect publicly would be lengthy.
“We have three individuals deceased right now and we don’t have the next of kin notified, so please understand this is a long process,” Barbera told the news station.
Barbera told the news station that PBSO was documenting the scene, interviewing witnesses and reviewing surveillance footage and video as part of the investigation and to determine a motive in the shooting.
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.
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