ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. — The man who fatally shot a woman and her 1-year-old grandson inside a Florida supermarket had been posting threats on social media about killing people, including children, but no one reported him, authorities said Friday.
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said Friday that Timothy J. Wall, 55, who killed the 69-year-old woman and her grandson inside a Publix supermarket in Royal Palm Beach on Thursday morning, had been making threats on Facebook as recently as a day before the shooting, WPTV reported.
“He has said, ‘I want to kill people and children.’ He’s got friends. Obviously, they saw that,” Bradshaw said at a news conference. “His ex-wife said that he has been acting strange. He thinks he is being followed. He’s paranoid. Do you think a damn soul told us about that? No.
“And if it sounds like I’m angry, I am.”
Under Florida’s Red Flag Law, a law enforcement agency can seek an order from a judge to seize the firearms of anyone shown to be a danger to themselves or others and hold the weapons for a year, according to The Associated Press. That can be extended if an agency demonstrates that the person is still a danger.
The law was enacted in the wake of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14, 2018.
Wall’s Facebook page was deactivated Thursday, Bradshaw said.
According to Palm Beach County Sheriff Maj. Talal Masri, the woman pushed her grandson into the store shortly after 11 a.m. EDT, using a cart shaped like a race car. According to the sheriff’s office, Wall entered the store at 11:29 a.m., using a golf putter as a walking stick.
Wall shot the toddler first after stalking his victims in the produce aisle of the supermarket, the Sun-Sentinel reported. The child’s grandmother grabbed the gun, jamming it in the process. As Wall tried to reload, he pushed the woman to the ground, the newspaper reported. Then he shot her before turning the gun on himself, Masri said.
“(Wall) 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,” Masri told reporters. “He was able to overpower, push (the woman) down to the ground. And he shoots her down while she’s on the ground.”
Masri added that Wall’s gun jamming likely prevented others from being hurt, WPTV reported.
The first 911 call came in at 11:35 a.m. EDT, and first responding deputies arrived on the scene five minutes later, the television station reported.
Detectives have found no connection between Wall and the woman, Bradshaw told reporters.
“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.”
Wall was described as a financially troubled man who once had an office six doors down from the Publix, the Sun-Sentinel reported. According to court records, Wall had an office suite in the same plaza.
At one point, he and his then-wife owned a dry cleaning business in the plaza, the newspaper reported.
According to an affidavit filed during his divorce proceedings in 2017, Wall declared himself indigent, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
The couple’s divorce was granted in 2018, and a judge said Wall could remain in the home until December 2018, the newspaper reported. In May 2019, his ex-wife filed suit to evict him.
The Publix will reopen to the public at 7 a.m. Saturday, WPTV reported.
Publix spokesperson Maria Brous said the store is working closely with the sheriff’s office on the investigation, and the store has been deep-cleaned, disinfected, and redesigned.
“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.
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