CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) — The second victim in the Merrick Park mall shooting in Coral Gables has died, the Equinox Fitness Club said in an email to gym members Sunday.
Fitness Manager Marios Hortis, 42, died as the result of his gunshot injuries, The Miami Herald reported.
General Manager Janine Ackerman, 35, died Saturday night.
“Our entire Equinox family experienced a terrible tragedy yesterday when a former trainer walked into our club in Coral Gables and shot two members of our team,” read the e-mail from Equinox. “We are deeply saddened to inform you that our General Manager, Janine Ackerman, and our Fitness Manager, Marios Hortis, both passed away as a result of their injuries. Our sense of loss is too profound for words.”
It was around 1:00 p.m. Saturday when 33-year-old bodybuilder Abeku Wilson walked into the gym and shot his two former co-workers. Witnesses at the gym said he seemed to know exactly where he was going. Police said he had a target.
“He didn’t go inside of where everyone was training,” said a woman who was at the juice bar with her husband. “He went to the back door, where the staff and manager office are.”
Police sources confirmed Wilson was fired earlier Saturday, went home, got a semi-automatic handgun and returned to the gym looking for Ackerman.
Hortis was shot multiple times, according to witnesses.
“He was really behind the counter,” the woman said. “(Wilson) was holding the gun, so the guy has no chance. I mean, it was less than a meter away.”
Police sources said Wilson had recently returned to work after vacationing in Ghana, where his family is originally from.
Wilson was fired earlier in the day for “work place violence” and was escorted off the premises.
Those who knew Wilson, a bodybuilding enthusiast, said he was a popular personal trainer. When asked about anger issues, co-workers told CBS4 there were no signs.
The shooting sent everyone running. The commotion got the attention of a Coral Gables officer, who ran into the gym. Sources said Wilson saw the officer, ran into a bathroom and shot himself.
Management at The Shops at Merrick Park activated their alert system and the mall was evacuated. Some were sheltered inside stores and the entire mall was shut down for hours.
Equinox staff described Ackerman as a “kind and caring soul.” She was a graduate of FIU where she earned a Master’s degree from the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, and worked for the gym for two years. She was promoted to GM last August.
Hortis was with the gym for six years. “His generous spirit and warm demeanor made him an always welcome presence in our world,” said an Equinox statement.
“Our love, prayers and condolences are with both families during this terrible time. The collective Equinox community will always keep Janine and Marios in our hearts.”