The gunman who shot a grandmother and her one-year-old grandson in a Florida supermarket before committing suicide has been identified, but the motive behind the attack remains a mystery, authorities say.
Timothy J. Wall, 55, of Royal Palm Beach, is suspected of using a gun to shoot the grandmother and child Thursday morning, said Teri Barbera, spokesman for the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.
“There is no known relationship between the shooter and the victims, but detectives are still investigating,” Barbera said hours later.
A man shot and killed a woman and a toddler in a Florida supermarket on Thursday morning before turning the gun on himself, authorities said.
The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office sent officers to the Publix store on Royal Palm Beach Boulevard at 11:40 a.m.
Bystander photo shows an armed officer outside the scene of the deadly shooting in Palm Beach, Florida, on Thursday, in the immediate aftermath
Officers were called to the Publix store on Royal Palm Beach Boulevard at 11:40 a.m. after reports that at least three shots had been fired.
They found three people – a man, woman and child – dead from gunshot wounds. The sheriff’s office said the shooter was one of the dead.
The toddler’s father was called to the scene to identify his son WPLG. He would have turned two later this month.
The grandmother was shopping with him in the store at the time. The sheriff’s office initially said it is “possible” that the shooter and the victims “knew each other,” but no connection has been released.
A row of patrol vehicles is seen outside a Dollar Tree near the supermarket on Royal Palm Beach Boulevard after Thursday’s shooting
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Officers stand outside a supermarket in Publix where a woman, child and man were shot and killed.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, officials said they were reviewing surveillance footage and speaking with witnesses as part of the investigation.
There are currently no plans to release those surveillance footage, authorities said.
Three people – a man, woman and child – were found dead from gunshot wounds inside
The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet that the incident is “NOT an active shooting situation.”
There are also no plans to release the names of the victims, as the sheriff said the family has invoked Marsy’s law.
The state law is designed to protect the families of crime victims. There are several basic principles of the law, including the right to be free from harassment, intimidation or abuse.
The amendment adding the Florida law was approved by more than 61 percent of voters in 2018.
The law is named after Marsy Nicholas, who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 1983.
A week later, her brother and mother met the ex-boyfriend in a supermarket after his bail, which they knew nothing about.
The law has been passed in 12 states since January 2021.
Agents are outside the store. Officials are trying to determine if there was a relationship between the male shooter and his two victims, but nothing has been found
The woman and child are relatives and were together at the time of the shooting
Witnesses said they heard gunshots causing staff and customers to run from the supermarket to safety.
Juan Guardia told the Palm Beach Post he was near the deli when the shooting occurred in the produce aisle.
‘I heard, ‘They’re shooting!’ A female Publix employee said, “Run! Shoot!” Guardia said. ‘I was scared. It’s sad because everything went fast. Everyone ran, some employees cried.’
Ron Glassman, a stress management consultant, had just parked his car and was on his way to another store when about 50 customers and employees rushed out of the Publix yelling, “There’s a gunman, there’s a gunman. Don’t go in there.’
“It was quite chaotic. People were very touched’, says Glassman.
He said the armed sheriff’s officers in helmets and body armor arrived about five minutes later.
The sheriff’s office said it is “possible” that the shooter and the victims “knew each other”, but did not provide further details on the possible relationship, and none have been found at this time.
An aerial view of police reacting to the scene of the shooting Thursday morning
Customer Lynn Waterman told the Sun-Sentinel she was at a cash register when she heard what she initially mistook for the sound of popping balloons.
Suddenly, Waterman said the cashier announced there was a gunman and left.
A witness at a nearby bank told WPBT that he saw a stampede fleeing from the Publix.
“I saw about 50 customers and staff leave, I’d say about 10 or 15 seconds,” Glassman added.
Publix is Florida’s largest supermarket chain with 817 locations.
Timothy J. Wall, 55, is suspected of using a gun to shoot the grandmother and child before turning the gun on himself. The victims are not publicly identified
Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous said in a statement that the company was working with law enforcement.
“Our thoughts are with those affected by this tragedy. We’re working with the local police,” she said.
“As this is an active police investigation, we cannot confirm any further details.”
The sheriff’s office later stated that the retail location would remain closed Friday. Customers who have left items in the store have three hours to pick them up on Friday at noon.
DailyMail.com has contacted the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for more information.
Royal Palm Beach is a middle-class suburb that is home to approximately 40,000 people.