Publix Shooter's Targets Were 'People and Children'

Sheriff says nobody warned the man could be dangerous, but others say they tried
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2021 5:54 PM CDT
Publix Shooter's Targets Were 'People and Children'
People visit the memorial for shooting victims Sunday at the Publix store in Royal Palm Beach, Fla.   (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Before he walked into a Publix grocery store last week and shot to death a woman and her grandson, the Florida man posted on Facebook that he wanted to kill "people and children," investigators say. Timothy Wall, 55, didn't know his victims, Palm Beach County officials said, the New York Times reports. The sheriff said the killings could have been prevented if someone who saw the posts had warned his department. "If somebody would've let us know who he is, we would have contacted him, see if he’s got a gun, get him into mental health, and you wouldn’t have two people dead," Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said. But Walls' former in-laws said Wall's ex-wife tried that.

"My sister was going to the courthouse, going to police, telling everyone he needs help," said Maia Knight, per the Palm Beach Post, adding that Wall had schizophrenia. "My sister was trying to help him but didn't know how." Officials said the woman, 69, might have saved lives by struggling with the gunman after her grandson, who was almost 2, was shot. The gun may have malfunctioned during the clash, per WPEC, forcing the man to reload as customers ran out of the store. Police said he shot the woman, then killed himself. He's not listed as the gun's owner, and officials are investigating how he acquired it. Florida enacted a "red flag" law, under which guns can be taken from people who might be dangerous, after the 2018 killings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. (More shooting stories.)

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