The man who gunned down a grandmother and her toddler grandson at a Florida supermarket had posted on Facebook about his desire to kill children, a local sheriff said Friday.
Timothy Wall, 55, reportedly turned the gun on himself moments after he pushed the 69-year-old victim to the ground and shot her inside the Royal Palm Beach Publix Supermarket on Thursday.
“There was a chance that this could be stopped,” Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said at a press conference, CBS 12 News reported. “He’s on Facebook. He has said, ‘I want to kill people and children.’ He has friends, obviously, they saw that.”
“Somebody knew about it, that bad things were gonna happen with this guy.”
Police have not found any motives for the atrocity, and said Wall had no known connection to the victims.
But his ex-wife’s family said that Wall, an unemployed carpenter, had been acting increasingly paranoid in recent days and that they tried to go to the authorities for help, according to the Palm Beach Post.
“He had mental issues. He wasn’t taking care of himself,” Maia Knight, the sister of Wall’s ex-wife Monica Sandra Wall told the newspaper.
“My sister was going to the courthouse, going to police, telling everyone he needs help,” Knight said. “My sister was trying to help him but didn’t know how.”
She said that Wall suffered from schizophrenia and hadn’t been taking his medication.
“He wasn’t really taking the medicine, and he had alcohol problems at one point,” Knight told the Palm Beach Post. “He didn’t even want to help himself. My sister would say, ‘I can’t tell a grown man what to do do if he doesn’t want to do it himself.’”
Bradshaw, however, said that the sheriff’s office had not been alerted to Wall’s mental deterioration prior to the shooting.
“Obviously, there was some mental” instability, he told reporters. “If it sounds like I am angry, it’s because I am.”
Wall was seen on surveillance footage watching the victims shop in the produce aisle before walking up to the 1-year-old boy and opening fire, according to the report.
The tot’s grandmother then bravely jumped in to stop Wall, even managing to jam his gun — but he pushed her to the ground and shot her, Bradshaw said.
The identities of the woman and boy — who would have turned 2 this month — will not be made public by authorities since the victims’ family took advantage of a law allowing their names to be kept confidential, authorities said.