ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said Friday the man who gunned down a 69-year-old grandmother and her one-year-old grandson inside a Royal Palm Beach Publix the day before had posted on social media about wanting to "kill people and children."
The gunman was mentally unstable. But the sheriff also feels the tragedy could've been prevented had someone spoken up about the gunman's behavior prior to the killings.
"[The gunman] is on Facebook. He has said, I want to kill people and children," Bradshaw said. "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."
The sheriff said there's no evidence, at this point, that the gunman knew either of the victims or their family members.
"This is a very fluid investigation," Bradshaw said. "We're following up on every single source, talking to every single person. But right now, we don't find a connection between him and the family."
Investigators on Friday released a chilling and disturbing timeline of the crime, saying the grandmother and her grandson entered the Publix, located in The Crossroads shopping center at 1180 Royal Palm Beach Boulevard, at 11:07 a.m. Thursday and grabbed a shopping cart designed for children to sit in.
The gunman then entered the store at 11:29 a.m. using a golf putter as a walking stick.
The victims entered the produce section of the store at 11:30 a.m.
The gunman followed one minute later and looked toward the grandmother.
"[The gunman] approaches her around 11:34, when he pulls out his gun, walks over from behind one aisle to the next where the child was parked in his little shopping cart. He takes out his gun and he fires one round, killing the child," said PBSO Major Talal Masri.
The child's grandmother then reached in to stop the gunman and there was a struggle. That caused Wall's gun to jam, forcing him to reload.
"He was able to overpower, push her down to the ground. And he shoots her down while she's on the ground," Masri said.
Masri added that the shooter's gun jamming likely helped prevent others from being injured.
The gunman then moved around the produce area, then shot and killed himself, according to Masri.
The first 911 call came in at 11:35 a.m., and when the first responding PBSO deputies arrived on scene at 11:40 a.m., they found the three bodies.
"This didn't have to happen if people could've called us and said, hey, saw it on Facebook. It's not normal to say I want to kill people and children," Bradshaw said. "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."
Bradshaw said PBSO investigators have spoken to at least 30 witnesses who were inside the store when the shots rang out. Detectives have also reviewed surveillance video from the incident.
According to authorities, the gunman went to the same Publix earlier on Thursday at 9:02 a.m. and made a purchase.
Investigators are now trying to determine how Wall obtained the handgun he used to kill the two victims and himself.
"There is no known motive or relationship between the gunman and the victims," PBSO spokeswoman Teri Barbera said in a news release on Thursday night. "However, detectives are still investigating."
Shoppers on Friday returned to the store to pick up any belongings they had left behind during Thursday's chaotic shooting.
Meanwhile, a memorial for the victims is growing outside the store with stuffed animals, balloons, and other mementos. The victims' names will not be released, authorities said.
Stuffed animals and flowers have been placed outside the @Publix in Royal Palm Beach where a 1-yo boy and his grandmother were shot and killed Thurs. @PBCountySheriff says the shooter, Timothy Wall, was also found dead in the store. No known motive at this time. @WPTV @FOX29WFLX pic.twitter.com/82L915UO6t— Ryan Hughes (@HughesWPTV) June 11, 2021
The Publix will reopen to the public at 7 a.m. Saturday.
Director of Communications Maria Brous said Publix is working closely with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on the investigation, and the store has been deep-cleaned, disinfected, and redesigned.
"The tragedy that occurred at our store yesterday for the community, for our Publix family, and for the families of the victims, our hearts and thoughts are with them," Brous said.
WATCH PUBLIX STATEMENT:
Grief counseling has been set up by Florida Blue, along with New Directions Behavioral Health. To connect with a trained professional grief counselor, call 833-848-1762. Help is available to anyone in English and Spanish, 24 hours a day.
In addition, Publix is offering grief counseling to its employees.