PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA — A 69-year-old grandmother and her grandson, not ever 2 years old, were gunned down inside a Publix supermarket by a complete stranger. Now, police have learned that the suspect had gone on social media and specifically posted about his desire to kill people, specifically children.
The suspect had posted to his Facebook page that he had a desire to kill people. Days leading up to the attack, he exhibited paranoid behavior and apparently made the decision to act on those desires.
Apparently, none of his friends on Facebook notified police about the posts.
“The real sad part of this, other than the fact that people are dead, is that there was a chance this could have been stopped,” Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said. “You know why? The reason is, he’s on Facebook. He has said, ‘I want to kill people and children.'”
A timeline of events that morning give a glimpse into the mind of the suspect, as he seemed to have moved around to different locations before the deadly encounter.
[The suspect] drove to the The Crossroads shopping plaza, at Okeechobee and Royal Palm Beach boulevards, on a red scooter. Surveillance cameras caught him lurking in Walgreens and then again in Publix earlier in the morning, when he was apparently spooked off by a sheriff’s deputy buying groceries.
[The suspect] entered the Publix, holding a golf putter, using it as a walking stick. He found his innocent victims in the produce aisle at 11:29 a.m.
Surveillance-camera video shows [the suspect] watching victims across the produce section.
[The suspect] then moved to the shopping cart and killed the child with one shot. The grandmother then instinctively attacked [the suspect]. She almost had the upper hand when his gun jammed, but he pushed her down on the ground and shot her, Bradshaw said at the news conference.
Grocery shopping with your grandson. As innocent and routine as it gets, yet no one is safe anywhere.
There is no blame to place here except for on the suspect, of course. Being a concealed carry website, however, I’d be irresponsible if I didn’t mention the following:
If the grandmother were armed, let’s say, an opportunity presented itself when the suspect’s firearm jammed. This may have allowed enough time to strike, taking him out before he’s able to do anymore harm.
As for an armed citizen in the immediate area, it’s tough to say. It’s likely that if you weren’t directly involved in the incident, the time window to react would have been relatively short by the time they realized what was going on.
It’s a terribly sad story, and one that should never happen to anyone.
A video containing 30 minutes of 911 calls can be listened to below.