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Ex-wife of Publix shooter 'disheartened' by Palm Beach County sheriff's comments

Monica Wall claims family notified deputies 'on numerous occasions' about gunman's mental health
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw speaks at a news conference on June 11, 2021.jpg
Posted at 4:37 PM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 17:09:14-04

ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. — The ex-wife of a Palm Beach County man who gunned down a 69-year-old grandmother and her 1-year-old grandson inside a Publix last week said she's "disheartened" by recent comments from Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, who believes the tragedy could've been prevented.

Monica Wall released a written statement through her attorney Bryan Raymond on Tuesday, expressing her condolences to the family of the victims.

"We want to express our deepest to the family that was so tragically impacted by the actions of [the gunman] last week," Wall said in her statement. "There are no words that can adequately express the sadness and sorrow that is felt for the family of the victims. We will continue to pray for those who are suffering."

Wall said her ex-husband suffered from mental illness and his family had made "numerous efforts to provide him with the care he needed."

Wall's statement said the gunman had been hospitalized with mental illness and had attended various psychological counseling sessions.

Publix shooting Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office command center in parking lot
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office investigates a fatal shooting inside a Publix supermarket, June 10, 2021, in Royal Palm Beach, Fla.

"We are not aware of [the shooter's] involvement with mental health treatment since his Divorce," Wall said in her statement. The couple legally separated in 2019, according to authorities.

However, Wall took issue with an impassioned statement made by Bradshaw last Friday, who claimed the shooter's family never contacted law enforcement about the gunman's mental illness and troubling behavior on social media.

"[The gunman] is on Facebook. He has said, I want to kill people and children," Bradshaw said at a news conference. "He's got friends. Obviously, they saw that. His ex-wife said he's been acting strange. He thinks he's being followed. He's paranoid. You think a damn soul told us about that? No."

WATCH SHERIFF'S COMMENTS:

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office news conference on Publix shooting

In her statement, Wall said she's "disheartened by the approach that has been taken by the Sheriff of Palm Beach County during this difficult time for all parties involved."

"Without knowledge of all the facts, the sheriff specifically mentioned [the gunman's] ex-wife in a press conference and insinuated that she and her family should have done more to prevent this tragedy," Wall's statement read. "The family asked for help and notified sheriff's deputies on numerous occasions, formally and informally, that [the shooter] was in need of Mental Health Services and that he had surprisingly acquired a firearm."

However, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is telling a much different story.

Agency spokeswoman Teri Barbera responded to Wall's statement on Tuesday afternoon, saying PBSO received two calls from Wall and her ex-husband. The first was on May 27, 2019, and the second was a month later on June 21, 2019.

"At no time was [the gunman's] mental stability every [sic] mentioned," Barbera said. "[The shooter's] family and friends may have been aware of his behavior and should have notified authorities, but by their own admission, the family states, that they are not aware of [the gunman] receiving any mental health treatment since the divorce in 2019."

Investigators said the gunman shot and killed the victims about 11:30 a.m. on June 10 inside a Publix located in The Crossroads shopping center at 1180 Royal Palm Beach Boulevard in Royal Palm Beach.

Publix sign at Royal Palm Beach location after fatal shooting, June 10, 2021
A child and his grandmother were fatally shot at this Publix supermarket, June 10, 2021, in Royal Palm Beach, Fla. The gunman then took his own life inside the store.

Seconds later, the shooter turned the weapon on himself and took his own life.

Bradshaw said there's no evidence, at this point, that the gunman knew either of the victims or their family members.

RELATED: Royal Palm Beach Publix shooting highlights Florida's online threat law

"If somebody would've let us know who he is, we would've contacted him, see if he's got a gun, get him into mental health. And you wouldn't have two people dead." Bradshaw said at last Friday's news conference. "Somebody needs to get involved. People need to get involved, and we need to wake up to this problem so a whole bunch of people don't get killed across this country."

In her statement, Wall said the "appropriate action in the coming days and weeks is to invite discussion with the Sheriff about how local agencies can work together with the community to better provide information and services for those that suffer with mental illness."

Barbera, in response, said that "many years ago Sheriff Bradshaw recognized the need to have this conversation" and that he "only wishes the community is willing to come together to continue to discuss this issue."

Barbera highlighted the creation of PBSO's Behavioral Services Unit, a specialized unit of mental health therapists and specially trained law enforcement deputies who handle high-risk and potentially dangerous individuals who "have or may have a mental illness or may be in some level of high risk psychological distress."

Investigators are now trying to determine how the shooter obtained the handgun he used to kill the victims and himself.

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