WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) â€” A gunman in a jacket, tie and baseball cap wordlessly opened fire inside a Wendy’s during the lunchtime rush Monday, killing a paramedic who had gone back to fetch the right toy to go with his child’s meal and wounding five others. The 60-year-old shooter then committed suicide.
he 42-year-old victim, Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Lt. Rafael Vazquez, who was not in uniform, had met his wife and child at the restaurant during a break in training down the street, Deputy Fire-Rescue Chief Steve Delai said. The family had gotten their food and walked out, but Vazquez returned because the wrong free toy had been included in the kids’ meal, detectives said.
Vazquez’s wife, a law enforcement officer in nearby Palm Springs, and child were in the parking lot when he was shot in the back as he stood at the counter.
“Our officer probably didn’t even see him,” Delai said of the gunman, Alburn Edward Blake.
Miller said Blake, a handyman and maintenance worker, had no relation to anyone at the restaurant and had never worked for Wendy’s, and authorities had not found any notes.
“We don’t know why he picked this location to do this horrible deed,” he said.
Vazquez had been promoted in January and was attending a course called “Strategy and Tactics” before taking his lunch break. Delai said the course teaches officers how to “manage large-scale incidents like we had today.”
The mayhem unfolded just after noon during the lunch hour rush at the eatery on a major suburban road lined with strip malls, car dealerships and fast food restaurants, about five miles from downtown West Palm Beach. A billboard advertising an upcoming gun show stands just behind the Wendy’s.
Written by the AP.
WC911.com: Our deepest sympathy goes out to Lt. Rafael Vazquez’s family. It is such a tragedy that a man who lived his life protecting and saving others, was senselessly removed from the world.