Florida Publix Shooting: 'Brave' Grandmother Stopped Gunman Before Her Death, Police Say
A 69-year-old grandmother and her 1-year-old grandson were killed on Thursday morning during a shooting at a Florida grocery store
Authorities in Florida are praising a hero grandmother for bravely stopping a gunman from killing more people during a horrific murder-suicide at a Florida Publix grocery store on Thursday.
The 69-year-old woman had interfered and fought back with the supermarket shooter during the incident after he killed her 1-year-old grandson, the Palm Beach Count Sheriff's Office said in a statement released on Friday that outlined the timeline of the tragedy.
"Because of her brave actions, his gun [jammed]," the Palm Beach Count Sheriff's Office said.
According to authorities, the suspect entered the store around 11:29 a.m., and approached the victims in the produce section. The shooter, after killing the child, then struggled with the grandmother before shooting her and ultimately turning the gun on himself.
Marsy's Law - an amendment to the state constitution meant to protect crime victims - has prevented authorities from releasing the identities of the woman and her grandson, but authorities did name the now-deceased killer as 55-year-old Timothy J. Wall.
A total of 30 people who were at the store were interviewed by police to put what happened together, they said. Video of the entire incident was also recovered.
The shooting occurred on Thursday around 11:34 a.m. at the produce section of a Publix grocery store, PBSO Major Talal Masri said in a Friday news conference.
Masri said the grandmother had briefly stepped away from her shopping cart, where her grandson was sitting, when Wall approached the child and fatally shot him.
"The grandma instinctively jumped in and tried to stop him. She struggled with him and his gun jams," Masri said. "He was able to overpower, push her down to the ground - and he shoots her down while she's on the ground."
There is currently no known relationship between Wall and the victims, according to PBSO Sheriff Ric Bradshaw.
An investigation is ongoing.
"This tragedy fits the profile across the United States when these things happen," he told reporters, noting that "obviously there's some mental unstableness involved in this."
"The real sad part of this, other than that two people are dead, is that there was a chance this could be stopped," Bradshaw said.
According to the sheriff, Wall had posted on his Facebook about wanting to "kill people and children." Wall's ex-wife also told investigators after the shooting that he had "been acting strange," Bradshaw said.
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"If somebody would have let us know who he is, we would have contacted him, see if he's got a gun, get him into mental health, and you wouldn't have two people dead. That's how it's supposed to work, and that's how it can work if people will only get involved," he said.
"This didn't have to happen," Bradshaw added. "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."
If you or someone you know needs mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.