WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The family of a toddler and his grandmother who were shot to death at a Publix in Royal Palm Beach last summer is now suing the Florida-based supermarket.
Litha Varone, 69, and her 1-year-old grandson, Sam Varone, were inside Publix when Timothy Wall, a 55-year-old man with a history of mental illness, shot them and then took his own life.
Now the boy's parents have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Publix.
Through the law firm of Domnick, Cunningham and Whalen, the Varone family released this statement:
"There is no path that will ever take away the crushing grief that has engulfed our family. Our son was days away from his second birthday. Our mother was the center of our world and was instrumental in the lives of her children and grandchildren. Nothing can ever take away the profound sense of emptiness in our hearts but there is a path that may prevent another family from experiencing this type of anguish. Publix ignored every red flag that placed the safety of their customers in jeopardy. They ignored the need to invest in security and that choice cost us everything."
Family attorney Sean Domnick wrote via email:
"This Publix had over 40 criminal incidents in and around the store over a three-year period. In an age of active shooters, this store chose not to have security despite the multiple gun deaths in their stores in recent years. They failed in their obligation to factor in the safety of the community that serves them, and they must be held accountable."
The family is seeking a jury trial for damages.
Publix has not responded to WPTV's request for comment on the lawsuit.
The Publix, located in The Crossroads shopping center, has since been demolished and is being rebuilt.