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Grandmother Fatally Shot By Publix Gunman Timothy Wall 'May Have Helped Prevent An Even Worse Tragedy'

ROYAL PALM BEACH (CBSMiami/AP) – The grandmother who was fatally shot inside a South Florida Publix Supermarket, along with her grandson, "may have helped prevent an even worse tragedy from occurring," according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

An update from investigators on Monday said "the interaction between the suspect and grandmother may have caused the gun to malfunction causing the suspect to have to reload."

After shooting and killing the 69-year-old woman and her nearly 2-year-old son grandson in the produce department on June 10, Timothy Wall turned the gun on himself.

Investigators say he used a .45 caliber Springfield XDM pistol. They also say he was not the original purchaser of the gun.

On Friday, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw revealed Wall, 55, had been threatening to kill people, including children, on his Facebook page, but no one reported him.

Those Facebook postings are not being released at this time, according to investigators.

"He has said, 'I want to kill people and children.' He's got friends. Obviously, they saw that. His ex-wife said that he has been acting strange. He thinks he is being followed. He's paranoid. Do you think a damn soul told us about that? No," Bradshaw said at a press conference. "If it sounds like I'm angry, I am."

Under Florida's so-called Red Flag Law, enacted in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, a law enforcement agency can seek an order from a judge to seize the firearms of anyone shown to be a danger to themselves or others and hold them for a year. That can be extended if an agency shows the person is still a danger.

Sheriff Bradshaw said this tragedy could have been prevented.

"If somebody would have let us know who he is, we would have contacted him, seen if he has got a gun, gotten him into mental health and you wouldn't have two people dead," Bradshaw said. "This didn't have to happen."

The ex-wife's family told the Palm Beach Post she did try to get Wall help, but no one listened.

"He had mental issues. He wasn't taking care of himself," said Wall's former sister-in-law. "My sister was going to the courthouse, going to police, telling everyone he needs help. My sister was trying to help him but didn't know how."

PBSO spokesperson Therese Barbera said the sheriff's office "only had two police service calls between [Monica Sandra Wall] and Timothy Wall," adding that they had "no police service calls from the sister regarding [Timothy Wall] or Monica Wall."

Wall's family released a statement to The Associated Press. An attorney for the family said the relatives weren't interested in doing interviews, and they were hoping reporters would stop trying to contract Wall's elderly mother.

"We are heartbroken at the loss of a child, and a grandmother, and of Timothy's death," the statement said. "We want to express our deepest condolences to the family of the young victim and his grandmother. During this difficult time, we ask that our family be given the time and respect to grieve and process this horrible tragedy. We hope that the same respect will be given to the victims and their family members."

Detectives have found no connection between Wall and the woman.

The names the woman and child are not being released due to Marsy's Law, which allows victims of crimes to block information that could be used to locate or harass them or their families from being made public.

To help with funeral expenses, GoFundMe pages have been set up to help the family of the victims.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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