ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. – A grandmother who was killed with her grandson in a South Florida Publix fought with the gunman, police said Friday.
The gunman shot the toddler first. His grandmother grabbed the gun, jamming it in the process, said Palm Beach County Sheriff Maj. Talal Masri.
As the gunman tried to reload, he pushed the grandmother to the ground. Then he shot her before turning the handgun on himself, Masri said.
What led up to the shooting in the store’s produce section remains unclear. At this point, investigators have no indication that 55-year-old Timothy Wall knew his victims.
The Sheriff’s Office is not releasing the names of the 69-year-old grandmother or her 1-year-old grandson, citing their interpretation of Marsy’s Law, which grants certain privacy rights to victims and families.
Prior to the killing Wall had posted on his Facebook page that he wanted to kill people including children. Wall’s Facebook page was deactivated Thursday, the day of the killing, said Sheriff Ric Bradshaw.
Wall was a financially troubled man who once had an office just six doors down from the Publix in Royal Palm Beach. According to court records, Wall had an office suite in the same plaza. At one point, he and his then-wife owned a dry cleaning business there. Today there is a for-rent sign on the door.
Other records suggest Wall struggled financially over the past few years. According to an affidavit declaring himself indigent in his divorce proceedings in 2017, Wall claimed to have $250 in cash on hand, $5 in checking and $1 in savings in 2017. He also claimed to owe $15,000 in credit card debt. Wall, according to his LinkedIn profile, was a professional copywriter.
His divorce was granted in 2018, and a judge said he could stay in their home until December 2018. By May 2019, he was still in the home, and his ex-wife filed a lawsuit to evict him. He also was sued by a creditor. That was dismissed after Wall filed for and was granted Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
The shooting occurred about 11:30 a.m. Thursday in the Crossroads shopping plaza at 1180 Royal Palm Beach Blvd. It was over by the time the first sheriff’s deputy arrived and found the three bodies inside, said Teri Barbera, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office. No one else was hurt.
Outside the Publix on Friday, assortments of flowers in red, yellow pink and blue lean against the tiled wall. A stuffed ram, teddy bear and squirrel rest against the rainbow of flower petals.
The Publix was closed Friday, although shoppers who were there when the store erupted into chaos at 11:40 a.m. were allowed to come back for a few hours to retrieve items. Others hoping to do some shopping were turned away. The store is expected to reopen for business on Saturday.