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Officials: Man who killed 2 at FL grocery store posted about wanting to 'kill people and children'

3 dead after Publix shooting in Royal Palm Beach on June 10, 2021
Posted at 5:39 AM, Jun 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-14 08:57:04-04

ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said Friday the man who gunned down a 69-year-old grandmother and her one-year-old grandson inside a Royal Palm Beach Publix had previously posted on social media about wanting to "kill people and children."

Officials say the gunman was mentally unstable. But the sheriff also said the tragedy could've been prevented had someone spoken up about the behavior of 55-year-old Timothy Wall prior to the killings.

"[The gunman] is on Facebook. He has said, 'I want to kill people and children,'" Bradshaw said. "He's got friends. Obviously, they saw that. His ex-wife said he's been acting strange. He thinks he's being followed. He's paranoid."

The sheriff said there's no evidence at the moment that the gunman knew either of the victims or their family members.

"This is a very fluid investigation," Bradshaw said. "We're following up on every single source, talking to every single person. But right now, we don't find a connection between him and the family."

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office news conference on Publix shooting

Investigators on Friday released a timeline of the crime, saying the grandmother and her grandson entered the Publix, located in The Crossroads shopping center on Royal Palm Beach Boulevard, at 11:07 a.m. Thursday and grabbed a shopping cart designed for children to sit in.

The gunman entered the store at 11:29 a.m. using a golf putter as a walking stick.

The victims entered the produce section of the store at 11:30 a.m.

The gunman followed one minute later and looked toward the grandmother.

"[The gunman] approaches her around 11:34, when he pulls out his gun, walks over from behind one aisle to the next where the child was parked in his little shopping cart. He takes out his gun and he fires one round, killing the child," PBSO Major Talal Masri said.

The child's grandmother then reached in to stop the gunman and there was a struggle. That caused Wall's gun to jam, forcing him to reload.

"He was able to overpower, push her down to the ground. And he shoots her down while she's on the ground," Masri said.

Masri added that because the shooter's gun jammed, it likely helped prevent others from being injured.

The gunman then moved around the produce area where shot and killed himself, according to Masri.

The first 911 call came in at 11:35 a.m., and when the first responding PBSO deputies arrived on scene at 11:40 a.m., they found the three bodies.

"This didn't have to happen if people could've called us and said, hey, saw it on Facebook. It's not normal to say I want to kill people and children," Bradshaw said. "Somebody needs to get involved. People need to get involved, and we need to wake up to this problem so a whole bunch of people don't get killed across this country."

Bradshaw said PBSO investigators have spoken to at least 30 witnesses who were inside the store when the shots rang out. Detectives have also reviewed surveillance video from the incident.

According to authorities, the gunman went to the same Publix earlier on Thursday at 9:02 a.m. and made a purchase.

Investigators are trying to determine how Wall obtained the handgun he used to kill the two victims and himself.

Photo of Timothy Wall, 55, the gunman in a deadly triple shooting at a Royal Palm Beach Publix on June 10, 2021.jpg
Photo of Timothy Wall, 55, the gunman in a deadly triple shooting at a Royal Palm Beach Publix on June 10, 2021.

"There is no known motive or relationship between the gunman and the victims," PBSO spokeswoman Teri Barbera said in a news release on Thursday night. "However, detectives are still investigating."

A memorial for the victims popped up outside the store Friday that included stuffed animals, balloons, and other mementos. The victims' names will not be released, authorities said.

The Publix reopened to the public at 7 a.m. Saturday.

Director of Communications Maria Brous said Publix worked closely with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on the investigation, and the store was deep-cleaned, disinfected, and redesigned before it reopened.

"The tragedy that occurred at our store yesterday for the community, for our Publix family, and for the families of the victims, our hearts and thoughts are with them," Brous said.

Publix spokeswoman gives update on shooting

Grief counseling has been set up by Florida Blue, along with New Directions Behavioral Health. To connect with a trained professional grief counselor, call 833-848-1762. Help is available to anyone in English and Spanish, 24 hours a day.

In addition, Publix is offering grief counseling to its employees.

This story was originally published by Matt Papaycik on Scripps station WPTV in Palm Beach, Florida.