Palm Beach County deputies have identified the gunman who killed a firefighter and injured four others during a lunch time shooting in a Wendy's west of West Palm Beach on Monday.
Alvurn Edward Blake, 60, of West Palm Beach allegedly opened fire in the restaurant about 12:18 p.m. He eventually turned the gun on himself, shooting himself in the head.
The 42-year-old firefighter, who has not been identified, had just eaten lunch at the restaurant at Military Trail and Cherry Road with his wife, a Palm Springs police officer, and his child.
He had returned inside, maybe to retrieve or exchange a toy, said Paul Miller, a spokesman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. Blake shot him at point blank range near the restaurant's counter.
Miller said Blake's motive is unknown and it appears to be a random act of violence.
"We don't believe the gunman knew anybody he was shooting at," Miller said.
The firefighter, with Battalion 2, worked for Palm Beach County since 2001 and was promoted to lieutenant in January. He was also a paramedic and was training at a nearby facility on Monday. He was dressed in civilian clothes, said Steve Delai, a spokesman for Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.
"It's so difficult to put meaning to a senseless act," said Delai, who did not know the firefighter. "I can't come to grips with it."
Miller said the four other victims, none of whom he identified, were taken to local hospitals.
Olga Soto and her 16-year-old daughter Vanessa are at Good Samaritan Medical Center, said Kachi Soto, Vanessa's sister. Vanessa was shot in the shoulder while she and her mother were eating lunch, Kachi said. Vanessa will undergo surgery, she said. The mother had no gunshot wounds.
Miller said a 43-year-old male victim is in serious but stable condition at St. Mary's Medical Center, and a 65-year-old man and a 62-year-old woman are in stable condition at Delray Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
The shooting happened about 12:18 p.m. at the Wendy's at 1376 N. Military Trail, west of West Palm Beach.
Miller said Blake -- wearing a Samsung baseball cap, a tan sports coat, a white shirt and a blue and gold tie -- entered the Wendy's about 12:15 p.m. After going to the men's room, he approached the counter and shot the firefighter. Miller said he believes Blake used a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun and had at least two clips.
Blake then started firing randomly at other customers, sweeping his gun from left to right, Miller said. Then Blake stood in the center of the restaurant and shot himself in the head, he said.
"There was a lot of screaming. People were trying to flee," Miller said, adding that they believe about 10 to 15 people were in the Wendy's at the time. Some fled on foot, leaving their cars in the parking lot.
He said the sheriff's office is asking those witnesses to contact them so they can be interviewed.
"Unfortunately it looks like this was another random shooting like we've seen around the country," Miller said. "This time it was in Palm Beach County."
At least one of the witnesses "acted heroically," Miller said. After Blake shot himself, he kicked the gun away and then gave first aid to a victim, Miller said.
No employees were injured. One other victim was injured while trying to leave the restaurant, but did not suffer a gunshot wound, Miller said. That victim's injury is unknown.
Deputies had closed Military Trail between Okeechobee Boulevard and Belvedere Road, but it reopened shortly after the shooting. Cherry Road, which is just south of the Wendy's, remains closed.