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Sheriff: Man who killed woman, child, himself inside Publix said 'I want to kill people and children'

The sheriff's office says before the shooting, the man had been acting strangely and was paranoid.
Credit: Palm Beach County SH

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla — A 69-year-old woman and her 1-year-old grandson were shot and killed Thursday morning in the produce aisle of a South Florida Publix.

The man who shot them then turned the gun on himself, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said. All three died at the store.

It all started Thursday at a Publix in West Palm Beach. A spokesperson with the sheriff's office said just after 11 a.m. the woman and her grandson entered the store. Around 11:29 a.m. the shooter, identified as 55-year-old Timothy Wall, also entered the Publix, the spokesperson said.

Minutes later, Wall walked over to the produce aisle where the woman and her grandson were and looked at them, the spokesperson said. He then stepped over to the shopping cart, took out his gun and shot the child, according to the agency.

The grandmother tried to stop Wall and struggled with him, but he pushed her to the ground and shot her, law enforcement said.

Wall then walked around the area inside the store before shooting himself in the head, the spokesperson said. 

The spokesperson said earlier that morning Wall had gone into the Publix but saw a deputy inside the store and left.  

The sheriff's office says at 11:35 a.m. the first 911 call came in. Within minutes, deputies were at the store and found the woman, child and Wall. Fire rescue was then called and said all three had died. 

During the news conference, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said the shooting could have avoided if someone had said something to authorities. That's because Wall had posted on social media that he "wanted to kill people and children," Sheriff Bradshaw said. 

The sheriff said Wall's ex-wife told detectives he'd been acting strangely before the shooting, saying he thought he was being followed and was paranoid. 

"Do you think a damn soul called us about that? No," Bradshaw said. "And if it sounds like I'm angry, I am. Because if somebody would've gotten involved and called us on the phone and said 'hey, this may not be anything, but it may be something because this person is talking about bad things and he's acting strange.'"

The sheriff said Wall's behavior and actions before the shooting is why his department has a behavioral science unit and why Florida has the 'red flag' gun law. It's so people can get involved and report what they see to authorities, and so things like this shooting didn't have to happen, Bradshaw said.

"It's not normal [for people] to say 'I wanna kill people and children,'" Bradshaw said.

At this time, the sheriff's office said it doesn't appear that Wall knew the woman and child but added the investigation is "very fluid" at this time.

Court records show Wall had declared bankruptcy earlier this year. Bankruptcy records show Wall had $6,000 in assets compared to $215,000 in debts. Most of the money is owed to his ex-wife, who divorced him in 2018.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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