ROYAL PALM BEACH (CBSMiami) – Timothy Wall, the Florida man who fatally shot a grandmother and her grandson inside a Publix supermarket, before turning the gun on himself, wanted to kill people and children, according to comments made on his Facebook account, according to Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, and that makes him really mad.
At a Friday afternoon news conference, Sheriff Bradshaw said this tragedy could have been avoided if someone had stepped forward and notified police about his strange behavior.READ MORE: Rapper POLO G, Others Facing Charges Following Traffic Stop In Miami
“He’s on Facebook. He has said, ‘I want to kill people and children.’ He’s got friends. Obviously, they saw that,” said Bradshaw. “His ex-wife said he’s been acting strange. He thinks he is being followed. He’s paranoid. You think a damn soul told us about that? No!”
Investigators say the 55-year-old Wall, with no previous criminal record, simply walked into the Publix supermarket on Thursday, and killed the nearly 2-year-old boy and his 69-year-old grandmother in the produce department.
Police Major Talal Masri revealed the timeline of events at the news conference based on store surveillance video saying it was 11:31 a.m. when the grandmother “left the cart in front of her as she’s walking looking at items.” At 11:34 a.m., Masri said, “He pulls out his gun, walks over from one behind one aisle to the next where the child was parked in his little shopping cart. He takes his gun, and he fires one round killing the child. The grandma instinctively jumped in and tried to stop him. She struggled with him and his gun jams. He was able to overpower, push her down to the ground. And he shoots her down while she’s on the ground.”
Right after that, Wall shot himself in the head.
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The names of the grandmother and her grandson won’t be released. Officials say their family invoked Marsy’s Law, which allows victims of crimes to block information that could be used to locate or harass them or their families from being made public.
Sheriff Bradshaw said again there is no known relationship between Wall and the victims.
Bradshaw said, “Obviously there’s a mental illness involved in this,” and “somebody knew about it. That bad things were going to happen with this guy.”
It’s the reason Florida’s ‘red flag law’ was enacted.
“We have the red flag law where we can take the firearm once we find the people. So that’s how this could have been prevented. If somebody would have let us know who he is, we would have contacted him, see if he’s got a gun, get him into mental health, and you wouldn’t have two people dead. That’s how it’s supposed to work. And that’s how it can work if people will only get involved,” said Sheriff Bradshaw.
The red flag law was enacted in response to the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The purpose of the law is to disarm potentially dangerous individuals by empowering judges to order surrender of firearms from those with mental health issues.READ MORE: Second Annual 'Floatarama' Held On The New River To Celebrate Pride Month
“Exactly what happened to me. I was angry. I was really upset. This individual told us what he was going to do and no one did anything to prevent it,” said Max Schachter, father of Parkland shooting victim.
Max Schachter is the father of Alex Schachter who was murdered during the parkland massacre. He has devoted his life to making school’s safe.
Friday night he tells CBS 4 News someone should have said something
“We could have saved them. These two people did not have to die. We have already had over 260 mass shootings in 2021 and we will have a lot more If people do not get more involved like the sheriff’s plea did in his press conference to let the authorities know when someone is exhibiting concerns to hurt themselves or others. You just have to tell someone,” said Schachter.
He also said social media should be taking action against these threats.
When the Red flag law was passed many opponents argued it violates the right to bear arms and the right against unlawful seizures of property.
Democrat State Senator Shevrin Jones said we must re-visit the legislation. Those posting any sort of warning signals he said should be questioned by police.
“I think we will need to take everything out of the bag and put it all on the table for what needs to be done to combat gun violence in the state of Florida. I also believe that my colleagues and the majority party will have to work along with us,” said Shevrin Jones, State Senator District 35.
While detectives continue to investigate, at this point they said they believe there was no connection between Wall and the woman and her grandchild.
According to state records, Wall and his ex-wife once owned a dry-cleaning business in the Publix shopping center. It is unclear when it closed.
Wall declared bankruptcy earlier this year after falling deeply into debt, federal court records show.
In his bankruptcy filing, Wall listed $6,000 in assets, including $9 in checking, $18 in savings, $4,100 in a stock trading account, $740 in bitcoin, and a $300 gun. He said he earned $24,000 last year as a laborer working through a temp agency and his mode of transportation was a $600 scooter.
Police found the red scooter in the parking lot.MORE NEWS: Event Held To Vaccinate Farmworkers In Homestead
Meanwhile, he had accumulated more than $215,000 in debts, most of it owed on the home his ex-wife now owns, the bankruptcy file shows. She divorced him in 2018 and he had signed over their house to her in 2019, Palm Beach County court records show.