Gunman who killed 2 people at Florida grocery store posted threats online, police say
ROYAL PALM BEACH – Timothy Wall posted the warning on his Facebook page: He wanted to kill people, including children.
Then he walked into a Publix grocery store in Royal Palm Beach and shot a 1 year old boy in a shopping cart, killing him with a bullet.
He didn’t count on the child’s grandmother to fight back. Police said the 69-year-old chased the shooter but ran over and shot her as well. Then, they said, Wall committed suicide.
The social media warning should have been enough for worried friends to call the police, clearly angry Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said on Friday. Wall’s weapon could have been seized, he said. Innocent lives could have been saved.
Bradshaw said his office had no indication the public was in danger because of the 55-year-old wall: “Do you think some goddamn soul told us about this? No. And if it looks like I’m angry, it’s because I am.
The shooting took place just before lunchtime Thursday in Crossroads Square at 1180 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. Investigators say they have no indication Wall knew the woman and her grandson, Bradshaw said.
After detectives reviewed surveillance video from the store, Major Talal Masri explained the minute-by-minute tragedy on Friday:
– The grandmother entered the store at 11:07 a.m. and put the toddler in one of those shopping carts that are supposed to look like a children’s car. Wall, dressed in head to toe black, came to the store on a red scooter.
It was his second visit to the Publix on Thursday. A uniformed sheriff’s deputy was shopping the first time he walked in, and Wall apparently left.
He returned at 11:29 am using a golf putter as a cane. A few minutes later, at 11:31 am, Wall spied on the wife and grandson in the produce section.
At 11:34 a.m., Wall drew his gun and shot the toddler.
The toddler’s grandmother attempted to snatch the gun from Wall, cornering her. As Wall reloaded, he pushed the woman to the ground, shot her, then turned the gun at him.
The shooting was over when the Sheriff’s First Deputy arrived and found the three bodies, said Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, on Thursday. No one else was injured.
The sheriff’s office is not disclosing the names of the victims, citing their interpretation of Marsy’s Law, which grants certain privacy rights to victims and families.
The Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office received the bodies of seven people whose deaths were due to be investigated on Thursday. Among them were the names of Litha Varone and Samuel Varone.
According to database records, Litha Varone lived in Royal Palm Beach and was 69 years old. In a nearby house, believed to be where Samuel Varone lived, a law enforcement officer stood outside on Friday, telling the South Florida Sun Sentinel that the family was not ready to make a statement.
Efforts to reach the Varones and Mur families were unsuccessful on Friday.
“I can’t help you,” said a relative of Walls in Massachusetts before cutting the call.
In 911 calls posted Friday, a panicked employee ran as he spoke with the dispatcher and described what he witnessed in detail, right down to a description of the gunman and his outfit.
“He was all in black, he had sunglasses and a black hat. He shot a child.
The dispatcher asked if the shooter was still in the store and where the child was.
“The child is dead. He shot her in the head, ”replied the caller.
“Did he shoot a child in the head?” asked the dispatcher incredulously.
Bradshaw said Florida’s red flag law could have been used to arrest Wall if anyone had spoken out about his threats. The law allows law enforcement to legally seize the weapons of people considered to be at risk of committing crimes.
“Then you wouldn’t have two people dead,” Bradshaw said. “This is how it can work if only people get involved. … It’s not about taking guns away from people. It’s to get guns out of the hands of people like that, who shouldn’t have them.
Wall was a financially troubled man who struggled to be successful as a copywriter. At one point, he and his wife at the time owned a dry cleaning business.
According to a court affidavit declaring himself indigent in his divorce proceedings in 2017, Wall claimed to have $ 250 in cash, $ 5 in checks and $ 1 in savings in 2017. He also claimed to owe $ 15,000 in card debt. credit.
His divorce was granted in 2018 and a judge said he could stay in their house until December 2018. As of May 2019, he was still at home and his ex-wife filed a complaint to deport him. He was also sued by a creditor. This was rejected after Wall obtained Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
According to the bankruptcy filing earlier this year, Wall owed more than $ 206,000 but had assets of $ 6,047.35. Assets included over $ 4,000 in an eTrade account, $ 743.44 in Bitcoin and a semi-automatic gun valued at $ 300. Wall said he had $ 37.50 in checking and savings accounts.
Outside the Publix Friday, assortments of flowers in red, pink yellow, and blue leaned against the tiled wall. A stuffed ram, a teddy bear, and a squirrel were resting against the rainbow of flower petals.
The Publix was closed on Friday, although shoppers who were there when the store exploded into chaos were allowed to return for a few hours to pick up items. Others who hoped to shop have been turned away. The store is expected to reopen on Saturday.