- A man, woman and child died at a Publix supermarket on Thursday, officials said.
- The gunman was among the dead, officials said.
- The incident was not an active shooter situation, officials said.
ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla .– Detectives were investigating a shooting that left three people dead at a Publix supermarket in Royal Palm Beach Thursday morning, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said.
A man, woman and child were killed, and the gunman was among the dead, officials said. It was not immediately clear who the shooter was.
County commissioner Melissa McKinlay, who represents the area, said in a statement that she was told the child was a toddler.
“It was NOT an active shooter situation,” said Teri Barbera, spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, in a statement.
Officials said the shooting took place inside the store, near its produce section, just after 11:30 a.m. At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Barbera said detectives were speaking to witnesses and reviewing surveillance video as they tried to determine what led to the shooting. .
Officials did not detail the relationship between the three, but Barbera said they may have known each other.
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Juan Guardia said he was in the deli area of the supermarket when the chaos erupted.
“I heard: ‘They shoot! A Publix employee said, ‘Run! Shoot! ‘”Guardia remembers.” I was scared. It’s sad because it all happened quickly. Everyone was running. Some employees were crying. “
Several patrol cars arrived at The Crossroads Mall shortly before noon. A sheriff’s officea helicopter hovered over the store, and a Palm Beach County rescue vehicle was at the scene.
While a handful of Publix employees were allowed to leave the store, it emerged that most of the workers and some customers were being kept inside for questioning by MPs.
The police checked the license plates of the cars in the parking lot. People were not allowed to move their vehicles.
Residents have expressed their shock.
“It’s a friendly Publix. I can’t believe this crazy thing happened,” said Tracy Greene, who shoppers in the store often.
“It’s not a Publix issue. It’s a people issue,” said Oahtee Moody, a Royal Palm Beach resident who lives across the street from the store. “I was born and raised here, and I would never expect that to happen.”
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Publix has more than 1,200 stores in seven states in the Southeastern United States. Maria Brous, a spokesperson for Publix, told USA TODAY that the company is cooperating with local law enforcement.
“Our hearts are with those affected by this tragedy,” said Brous.
McKinlay, the county commissioner, called the shooting “heartbreaking.”
“We have become too insensitive to gun violence,” she said. “Today we mourn the loss of these lives and we pray for those inside Publix who witnessed this tragedy as well as the first responders who continue to run into danger to protect the public. Tomorrow we need to step up and engage in a very honest conversation about why this happened and what can be done specifically to prevent this violence. Inaction is not an option. “
Royal Palm Beach is a village of about 40,000 people, according to Census Bureau data. The village is about 15 miles inland, west of West Palm Beach.