Gunman Who Killed 2 at Florida Gym Had Just Been Fired: Cops

Abeku Wilson returned to gym with a gun shortly after his dismissal
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 9, 2017 11:27 AM CDT
Gunman in Florida Shooting Had Just Been Fired: Police
People evacuate after a gunman opened fire at the Shops at Merrick Park in Coral Gables, Fla., on Saturday, April 8, 2017.    (Al Diaz)

The gunman who shot and killed two managers at a Florida gym before turning the gun on himself had just been fired from the fitness center for workplace violence, police said Sunday. The Miami-Dade Police Department said in a statement Sunday that 33-year-old Abeku Wilson of Miami was let go from his job as a fitness trainer at the Equinox gym in Coral Gables on Saturday "due to work place violence and was escorted off the premises," the AP reports. Shortly after his dismissal, Wilson returned to the gym armed with a handgun and fired multiple shots at both managers before shooting himself to death. Police said the managers were deliberately targeted and that the shooting was not random. Equinox issued an email statement Sunday saying that it is "deeply saddened" by the deaths of the two employees, 35-year-old Janine Ackerman of Miami and 42-year-old Marios Hortis of Miami Beach. Ackerman was general manager of the gym; Hortis was fitness manager.

Marc Sarnoff, who previously trained with Wilson for two years, saw him at the gym before Saturday's shooting and noticed something was wrong. Wilson typically was "very buttoned up, very proper, very appropriate," Sarnoff said in a phone interview. But on Saturday, Wilson physically bumped into Sarnoff and his current trainer. The usually adept Wilson seemed noticeably off-kilter. "He wasn't clean-shaven ... and he seemed to be slurring his words," said Sarnoff. "He said, 'I'm sorry I'm just off balance this morning'." The shooting happened about 1pm at the upscale Shops at Merrick Park. Shoppers, diners at mall restaurants and people in workout gear ran to safety or took cover after reports of gunfire. (More shooting stories.)

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